KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 – The High Court of Ireland has ruled that the country’s abortion law is against the UK’s human rights commitments.
The case was taken to court by Sarah Ewart, who was not allowed an abortion in 2013 and had to travel to England to abort her foetus, which she was told would not survive outside the womb.
“Today’s ruling is a vindication of all those women who have fought tirelessly to ensure that we never again have to go through what I did in 2013,” Ewart said, according to the BBC.
The judge said she ruled in Ewart’s favour as it was not right to ask another woman to relive the trauma that she had already experienced.
The landmark decision was made in light of impending legislation, already passed at Westminster, which will decriminalise abortion if there is no deal to restore devolution in Northern Ireland by October 21.
Northern Ireland has been without a devolved government for almost three years.
“At present there is little sign that there will be a resolution within the 18-day deadline,” said BBC.
Mrs Justice Keegan said a formal declaration of Northern Ireland’s incompatibility with UK human rights commitments would not be made at this stage, in light of that impending legislation.
Currently, an abortion is only allowed in Northern Ireland if a woman’s life is at risk or if there is a risk of permanent and serious damage to her mental or physical health.
Rape, incest or diagnoses of fatal foetal abnormality — where medics believe that a baby will die before, during or shortly after birth — are not grounds for a legal abortion in Northern Ireland.