The commission lost on the issue of whether they had the required standing to bring the case, and analysts suggest the defeat came because of a technical legal point. So where does that leave Northern Ireland? Report Is this a victory for those who want change?
Kathryn can be reached on k. This is a significant move in a jurisdiction that has resisted liberalisation, and even open discussion of, abortion law due to the dominance of conservative socio-political views on reproduction and gender. How can we understand this decision and its wider context, and, perhaps most importantly, what does it mean for the future of abortion law in Northern Ireland?
In contrast to the rest of the UK, Northern Ireland has a highly restrictive law on abortion. The Abortion Act, which allows abortion to be legally carried out in a range of relatively widely defined situations, applies to the rest of the UK but not Northern Ireland. This legal framework makes procurement of abortion a criminal offence except where carried out in good faith in order to prevent real and serious threat to the life or health of the woman which is permanent or long-term.
In the contemporary global context, this legal framework is relatively unusualcertainly within Europe, and has raised significant human rights concerns.
In the Northern Ireland Family Planning Association instigated judicial review proceedings to challenge the absence of guidelines from the Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety on the circumstances in which termination of pregnancy does fall within the law.
This review, most recently in Abortion a violation of human rights High Court again indid not seek to challenge the substantive law on abortion, and so compatibility of the current legal position with human rights provision was not the focus of these proceedings.
However, even where human rights arguments were made, both the High Court and the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal dismissed discussion using the language of human rights. Since when Northern Irish woman Sarah Ewart shared her story of being required to travel to Britain to receive termination services for fatal foetal abnormality, the inadequacy and human rights concerns raised by a legal framework which does not permit termination in such circumstances began to be seriously discussed.
The court outlined that three possible options are available following this result; firstly, the court may read the current law in a way that is compliant with protection of Article 8 rights. Secondly, the court stated it may be satisfied that prosecution brought in relation to abortion procured in situations of fatal foetal abnormality or sexual crime would be an abuse.
Thirdly, in the event that it is not possible to follow either of these two options the court may use section 4 of the Human Rights Act to make a declaration of incompatibility, which would compel the legislature to review the relevant legislation. This decision is being reported and celebrated by many as a historic landmarkoffering possibility to allow at least some of the estimated 1, women who travel from Northern Ireland to Britain each year to receive termination possibility to receive this service, and effective aftercare, at home.
It is indeed important to note the significance of the decision in a context where discussion of possibilities beyond the current position has been consistently stifled. This case represents years, even decades, of cumulative hard work by those who have not given up on challenging the status quo, and have kept on using human rights discourse to highlight the difficulties and dangers that the current restrictive legal position produces for women facing crisis pregnancy.
However, given the track record of politico-legal grappling with abortion in Northern Ireland perhaps caution should be advised. It is also important to note that the High Court decision made clear that the prohibition on abortion generally was not considered a violation of Article 8, meaning that the decision is of limited use in challenging the criminalisation of abortion in the province on a wider scale.
This is a considerable limitation, especially given the reminder of the chilling effects of the current framing of abortion in criminal terms with the trial of a woman who bought abortion medication for her daughter earlier this year.Some consider female circumcision a ritualized form of child abuse and violence against women, a violation of human rights.
The debate over female circumcision is relatively recent. The practice was rarely spoken of in Africa and little known in the West until the second half of this century. Second Trimester. A dilation (dilatation) and evacuation abortion, D&E, is a surgical abortion procedure during which an abortionist first dilates the woman’s cervix and then uses instruments to dismember and extract the baby from the uterus.
Access to safe abortion is a matter of human rights Access to safe abortion services is a human right. Under international human rights law, everyone has a right to life, a right to health, and a right to be free from violence, discrimination, and torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
“Reproductive rights are human rights, and omitting the issue signals the Trump Administration’s latest retreat from global leadership on human rights." and that it’s not even a rights violation we must or should report on. which hamstrings efforts to seriously address the crisis of unsafe abortion throughout the developing world.
A United Nations committee has found Ireland violated the human rights of a woman who had to travel to Britain for an abortion after her baby was diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality.
Is abortion a human rights issue? States’ obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights includes areas of sexual and reproductive health and autonomy.