Intended for healthcare professionals


Northern Ireland abortion law breaches human rights, say judges

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 07 June 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2541
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

Pressure is growing for reform of the strict abortion law in Northern Ireland after a majority of the seven judges considering the issue in the UK Supreme Court decided that it breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

However, a majority of the justices also held that they were unable to make a binding decision that the law needed changing because the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, which had brought the case to court, had no standing to bring it. Technically, therefore, they had to dismiss the appeal.

Lord Mance, Lord Reed, Lady Black, and Lord Lloyd-Jones concluded that the commission had no standing because it had not …

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