A landmark ruling by the Belfast High Court on Monday has found that abortion law in Northern Ireland is in breach with human rights law. The case was brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) in an effort to legalize abortion in cases of rape, incest, or serious foetal malformation. According to the current legislation, abortions are allowed only if a woman’s life is at risk or when there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health, and anyone carrying out an unlawful abortion can be jailed for life. In today’s ruling, Justice Horner said women who were victims of sexual crime and cases of fatal foetal abnormality were entitled to exemptions in the law, arguing the existing legislation is incompatible with European human rights law. The Department of Justice has up to six weeks to appeal the judgment.
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