Strict abortion laws in Northern Ireland found in breach of UK human rights

Northern Ireland's strict abortion laws have been found to breach the UK's human rights commitments, the High Court in Belfast has ruled.

The highest court in Northern Ireland has ruled that the country's law banning almost all situations is not compatible with the UK's take on human rights.

A termination is only permitted 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 and incest are not grounds for abortion in the country.

Even fatal foetal abnormality, where medics believe the baby ill die before or shortly after birth, is not considered grounds under the current law.

This is all due to change in 18 days time due to a decision made in Westminster before today's ruling.

Abortion will be decriminalised in Northern Ireland unless Stormont – the country's devolved government – can reform following a bitter, long held split that began in January 2017.

If Northern Ireland's leading parties Sinn Féin and the DUP do manage to resolve their differences and return to their seats within the next two and a half weeks, the High Court's ruling presents an additional road block to them vetoing the Westminster law.

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