By Jayne McCormack, BBC News
July 20, 2022
There is "no necessity" to amend a bill that would ban anti-abortion protests at health settings in Northern Ireland, the Supreme Court has heard.
Passed at Stormont in March, the legislation is being challenged by Northern Ireland's Attorney General.
She has asked the court to decide if it
"disproportionately interferes" with the rights of anti-abortion
Mara Malagodi, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Law
November 10, 2021
Recent legal changes in a number of jurisdictions that have entirely decriminalised abortion are steeped in the language of gender constitutionalism and human rights – whether these changes have taken place via constitutional litigation or statutory reform. As a result, the campaigns for complete decriminalisation in other jurisdictions have now begun to engage in a pragmatic comparative law exercise to advance their cause. Activists deploy the legal arguments and strategies marshalled in those jurisdictions that have completely removed abortion from the purview of their criminal laws alongside domestic constitutional principles and international human rights standards. As such, we are witnessing a global cross-pollination of legal ideas anchored in substantive notions of gender equality and human dignity to challenge legal restrictions to women’s bodily autonomy.
Abortion is the only medical procedure that continues to be consistently treated as a crime around the world. Even those jurisdictions that have partially liberalised their legal regimes continue to criminalise abortion outside of the terms explicitly provided by law. Only a handful of jurisdictions such as China (1979 – excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Canada (1988), Northern Ireland (2019), New Zealand (2020), and Australia (2021), have entirely removed abortion from the purview of their penal laws. Canada did so via constitutional litigation, while the other jurisdictions via statutory reform.
By Michael Fitzpatrick, BBC News NI
October 14, 2021
A High Court judge has ruled the secretary of state for Northern Ireland has failed to comply with his duty to provide abortion services to women in Northern Ireland "expeditiously."
However Mr Justice Colton declined to compel Brandon Lewis to make abortion services available. He also dismissed claims against the Department of Health and the Executive Committee.
19 June 2021
Brandon Lewis has warned Stormont he is running out patience over its failure to implement abortion services in Northern Ireland and will not wait much longer to intervene.
The secretary of state for Northern Ireland told PoliticsHome that while he wanted to give the Executive and Assembly "space" to roll out abortion services, he was "not going to wait very long".
April 1, 2021
Abortion was decriminalised in Northern Ireland in October 2019. In March the following year, the legal framework was in place to provide terminations. A year later, though, it hasn’t happened. The Department of Health in Northern Ireland hasn’t provided a clear plan to commission permanent abortion services that would ensure provision would be budgeted for and available throughout all of Northern Ireland.
Now Westminster has had to intervene to ensure women in Northern Ireland can access abortion services they are legally entitled to. Abortions can be carried out in all circumstances up to week 12 of pregnancy, until week 24 if continuing the pregnancy would risk injury to the woman’s physical or mental health, and without a time limit in cases of severe or fatal foetal abnormality or risk to the life of the pregnant woman.
Published March 23, 2021
The decision to introduce new powers compelling Stormont to implement abortion laws has not been taken lightly, Brandon Lewis has said.
The government has published regulations allowing the NI secretary to direct commissioning of central abortion services in NI.
22 March 2021
by Anurag Deb, UK Human Rights Blog
Abortion reform in Northern Ireland has had a fraught history, to say the least. Matters appeared to finally come to a head when in 2019, the UK Parliament enacted the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act 2019 (2019 Act), which created a duty on the Secretary of State to implement abortion reform by following the report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination of Women (CtteEDAW). Nearly two years and two statutory instruments later, Stormont finds itself mired in fresh controversy as long-term abortion facilities in Northern Ireland have yet to be commissioned. So the obvious question arises: what happened?
After Stormont voted to restrict abortion rights, Westminster is intervening to secure the services women are legally entitled to
20 Mar 2021
Northern Ireland is no country for young women. Out of 87 members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) at Stormont last week, just 12 voted to allow women the right to choose abortion in line with international human rights standards. These are built into a law smuggled into NI while the institutions in Belfast were collapsed in acrimony in 2019, following an inspiring collective effort by local feminists and the British Labour MP Stella Creasy. Jubilant, proud, relieved and tearful, women stood at Stormont with banners that said, simply, “Decriminalised”.
By Stephen Walker, BBC News NI Political Correspondent
March 8, 2021
The NI Assembly has agreed to refer planned abortion legislation to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.
DUP assembly member (MLA) Paul Givan brought forward the bill, which aims to prevent abortions for conditions such as Down's Syndrome and cleft palate.
Bill targets provision that allows terminations up to birth in cases of serious disability
Tue, Feb 16, 2021
A legislative attempt to repeal an aspect of Northern Ireland’s recently-liberalised abortion laws has been formally tabled at Stormont.
The Private Members’ Bill in the name of Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MLA Paul Givan targets a specific provision within the region’s abortion regulations that allows terminations up to birth in cases of serious non-fatal disabilities.