UK Supreme Court dismisses appeal to overturn N. Ireland's strict abortion laws

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption The law on abortion in Northern Ireland explained

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption The law on abortion in Northern Ireland explained

"As such, the court does not have jurisdiction to make a declaration of incompatibility [with human rights law] in this case", the court said in a summary of the decision.

According to Precious Life, a pro-life group in Northern Ireland, the pro-abortion Labour MP Stella Creasy has secured an emergency debate on Northern Ireland's abortion laws June 5 in the UK's House of Commons.

The human-rights commission argued that the province's abortion laws were incompatible with the ECHR rules, which protects the right to terminate pregnancies in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities, rape and incest.

The ruling must force the UK Government to urgently legislate for change, Amnesty International said following the verdict. Theresa May can no longer sit back and do nothing whilst countless women continue to suffer on her watch.

"Abortion has been a devolved matter in Northern Ireland since it was created in 1921, and it would not be appropriate for Westminster to seek to impose its will, or to be the arbiter of an issue that has always been devolved to the people of Northern Ireland".

"This feels like a huge relief".

Ewart, right, has said she intends to bring the case to Belfast's High Court. "I hope this ruling means that things will change so no more women have to go through what I, and so many others, already have".

In short, a majority gave the opinion that the law does breach Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (which deals with "the right to respect for private and family life").

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The maximum penalty for breaking the law in Northern Ireland is life in prison. "Testimonies of being forced to travel, making their hard situations even more harrowing with lack of healthcare treatment at home", she said.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. The repeal of section 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act to decriminalise abortion must remain a priority for the Westminster Government as outlined by the United Nations CEDAW report on abortion law in Northern Ireland.

The prime minister privately told Conservative MPs that she does not support action to reform Northern Ireland's laws. "We want to see the denial of women's human rights overturned so that desperately needed reproductive healthcare can be accessed at home".

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's chief commissioner, Les Allamby, speaks to members of the media outside of the Supreme Court in London on Thursday.

Lady Hale, the first woman to have been appointed to the top role, set out her view in a detailed legal opinion about the state of Northern Ireland's abortion laws this morning.

The current law has "a significant chilling effect" on women seeking abortions and medical professionals who may wish to help them, he added.

Northern Ireland's elected assembly, which has powers to legislate on the issue, voted against liberalising the law in February 2016.

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