Intended for healthcare professionals


Abortion: Northern Ireland law breaches European human rights, rules Belfast court

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 04 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l5880
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

Northern Ireland’s abortion law, in denying terminations to women whose babies have fatal fetal abnormalities, is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, a judge in Belfast’s High Court has ruled.1

Mrs Justice Keegan ruled that the Northern Ireland law violated Sarah Ewart’s right to protection for her private and family life, as guaranteed by the convention. Ewart learnt from a scan at 20 weeks that her unborn baby would not survive but was told she would have to continue with the pregnancy. Unable to face …

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