Belfast, Northern Ireland, Oct 3, 2019 / 15:41 pm
The High Court in Belfast ruled Thursday that the region's existing abortion law is in violation of the United Kingdom's human rights commitments.
"It's a very sad day that the court has denied the right to life for unborn children," Bernie Smyth, director of the pro-life organization Precious Life, said Oct. 3. Smyth was present when the ruling was made.
The case challenging the legality of the country's abortion laws was brought forward by a woman named Sarah Ewart, who was denied an abortion in 2013 after it was determined that her baby would not live outside the womb. Ewart, who lives in Belfast, traveled to England for the procedure and has been an advocate for abortion rights in Northern Ireland since then.
Justice Siobhan Keegan declined to make a formal declaration of incompatibility, due to the fact that there is already legislation in place that would make abortion legal in Northern Ireland in the near future. A bill was passed in July by the British parliament that will make both abortion and same-sex marriage legal in the region if a devolved government is not formed by Oct. 21.