Supreme Court judgement could force UK to reform Northern Ireland abortion ban

The UK’s Supreme Court will deliver a historic ruling this Thursday on whether Northern Ireland’s abortion ban violates the UK’s human rights commitments

When: 09.15 hrs BST, Thursday 7 June 2018

Where: UK Supreme Court, London, SW1P 3BD

Interview opportunities:

Amnesty International UK has intervened in the high-profile case, providing evidence that the near total ban on abortion in Northern Ireland violates women's human rights. Grainne Teggart, Northern Ireland Campaigns Manager for Amnesty International UK and Sarah Ewart, a woman who was forced to travel to the UK for an abortion after being told her baby would not survive, will be at the Supreme Court on Thursday and available for media interviews.

Timings:

  • 09.15 hrs: Grainne Teggart and Sarah Ewart will be available for comment as people enter the court to hear the ruling.
  • 09:45 hrs: The judgement is expected. Following this, Grainne Teggart will give a statement reacting to the ruling outside the Supreme Court. 

One-on-one interviews with Grainne Teggart and Sarah Ewart will be available on request throughout the day on Thursday.

The Supreme Court ruling

In 2015, the Belfast High Court ruled that Northern Ireland abortion law breached women’s rights, but that ruling was overturned in June 2017. The case was then appealed to the UK's Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court case is considering whether Northern Ireland’s abortion law breaches women’s rights by not allowing abortions in cases of sexual crime (rape and incest) and fatal foetal abnormalities.

Amnesty is campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion and a human rights compliant framework. More than 37,000 people have already signed Amnesty’s petition calling for the UK Government to act.

Grainne Teggart, Amnesty's Northern Ireland Campaigns Manager, said:

“If the Court rules that Northern Ireland’s abortion ban breaches women’s rights, there will be no excuses left for Theresa May - the UK Government will be forced to fulfil its human rights responsibilities and make things equal for the women of Northern Ireland.

“The Supreme Court judges have a unique chance to put right centuries of human rights abuse in Northern Ireland. We hope they take it.”

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