Northern Ireland Abortion Ban Found To Violate Human Rights Standards

SMS
Northern Ireland Abortion Ban Found To Violate Human Rights Standards
A woman challenged the law six years ago after she was denied an abortion even though a scan showed the fetus wouldn't survive.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Northern Ireland's high court has ruled that the province's abortion ban violates U.K. human rights standards.

Northern Ireland is part of the U.K. and has the country's most restrictive abortion rules; abortions are only legal if the life or mental health of the woman is at risk.

A woman challenged the law six years ago after she was denied an abortion even though a scan showed the fetus wouldn't survive.

While the court sided with the woman on Thursday, the judge said she won't formally declare it incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights yet because abortion might be decriminalized in the province anyway.

In July, British Parliament overwhelmingly approved a bid to legalize same-sex marriage and extend abortion rights in Northern Ireland. But here's the catch: The abortion and same-sex marriage votes are amendments tacked on to a bill that keeps Northern Ireland functioning without a government.

That means Northern Ireland's power-sharing coalition could work out differences by the Oct. 21 deadline, eliminating the need for the bill. But that's unlikely since one of the parties supports the abortion legislation.

Northern Ireland hasn't had a government since 2017. If the two sides of its power-sharing coalition can't restore the assembly by the deadline, the new funding bill will go to the House of Lords and abortion will likely be decriminalized.