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Conscience Magazine

Northern Ireland’s Court of Appeal Sends Abortion Question Back to Assembly

August 10, 2017

On June 29, Northern Ireland’s Court of Appeal quashed 2015 and 2016 High Court rulings that separately found the country’s abortion law—which restricts abor­tion even in cases of fatal fetal abnormality and preg­nancies resulting from sexual violence—breached the European Convention on Human Rights. Claiming a strong preference for judi­cial restraint, the Lord Justices declined to rule on the issue; ironically, the court also invited legal submissions for the case to go to the UK Supreme Court. In the meantime, the Lord Justices suggest that the balancing of local and international legal standards and the recognition of human rights should be handled by the Northern Irish legislature.