The urgent need for abortion law reform in Northern Ireland
David Pannick, QC
June 20, 2018
The recent Supreme Court judgment on abortion rights in Northern Ireland provides a compelling argument for law reform. There, it is a criminal offence for a pregnant woman to have an abortion, and for clinicians to assist her to do so, unless there is a risk to her life or a risk of serious long-term or permanent injury to her physical or medical health. Otherwise an abortion is unlawful, even if the pregnancy results from rape or incest, and even if there is a foetal abnormality that means that the foetus will die in the womb or very shortly after delivery. In such cases the law compels the woman to carry the foetus to term.
The Supreme Court of seven judges heard a claim brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission challenging these provisions under the Human Rights Act (HRA).
International law and the provision of abortion services
Kirsten Sjøvoll considers whether the Supreme Court's approach to international law as an aid to interpretation of the ECHR is out of step with Strasbourg, and where this leaves international law as an interpretative aid generally
By Kirsten Sjovoll · On July 28, 2017
In R (A & B) v Secretary of State for Health  UKSC 41 the Supreme Court considered whether the Secretary of State’s failure to exercise his power to require that abortion services be provided through the NHS in England – to women ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland – was unlawful. The question was whether he failed to discharge his duty under the National Health Service Act 2006, s 3 to “take such steps as he considers necessary to meet all reasonable requirements” for services. It also considered whether the continuing failure to provide such abortion services infringed the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR” of “the Convention”), art 14 in conjunction with 8. In particular, the Supreme Court considered to what extent these rights under the ECHR should be informed by other obligations and principles of international law.
Continued at source: Law of Nations Blog: https://lawofnationsblog.com/2017/07/28/international-law-provision-abortion-services/