UK Supreme Court says north ban on abortion "incompatible" with Human Rights


Somewhat good news in the struggle for abortion provision in the north, the courts may refuse to act but grassroots activists are taking to the streets on Sunday. Pressure continues to build following the successful Repeal campaign in the south to introduce abortion law reform north of the border. Join Alliance for Choice as part of the Processions march on June 10th, Titanic Slipways at 12 noon.

An emergency debate was held in Westminster on Tuesday where Labour MP, Stella Creasy was pushing for sections 58 and 59 of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act to be repealed. These sections in the OAPA are what criminalises the use of the abortion pills, mifepristone and misoprostol. There was clear support for the bill, with only some Tory and SNP MPs insisting that Westminster should not interfere in devolved issues. While there was some anti-choice opposition, most notably by the DUP who remain as out of touch as ever, pro-choice campaigners have viewed this as a victory.

The Supreme Court has deemed the current ban on abortion in cases of rape, incest, and fatal foetal abnormality to be "incompatible" with Human Rights, however the case has been rejected as the NI Human Rights Commission did not have the right standing to bring the case forward.
While the case has been thrown out this should be viewed as another win due to the judges' statement on the human rights incompatibility. This will add further pressure to Westminster to intervene as while abortion is a devolved issue, human rights issues are not.

Now is the time to continue the pressure. A large pro-choice bloc will form the Processions event commemorating 100 years since some women got the vote this Sunday.

Whether Westminster acts is not clear, what is clear is that grassroots activists will keep up the pressure.