Northern Ireland minister does not comply with duty to abort, Northern Ireland judge rules
The northern Ireland Supreme Court Justice Brandon Lewis ruled that the secretary, failed in his duties to provide full abortion services in the district.
The ruling will put the government in Westminster under pressure to address the situation in Northern Ireland, where women struggle to access safe abortion services more than 18 months after the procedure was made legal in the country.
Judge Colton said that between April 2020 and March 2021, the Secretary of State had failed to comply with his duties under Section 9 of the Northern Ireland Executive Formation Act 2019 because he had “failed to ensure that the state promptly provides women with access to high quality care. Abortion and post-abortion in all public facilities in Northern Ireland.
But he stopped issuing any order forcing Lewis to set a timetable for the provision of services. The judicial review was submitted by a woman who was told to travel to England to have an abortion during the pandemic lockdown on behalf of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC). Claims against the administration of Northern Ireland the health and Executive Director.
Experts have warned that women are still being forced to use unregulated services and travel to England and Ireland, including during the pandemic.
Abortion decriminalized in Northern Ireland In October 2019 After a Westminster vote led by Labor MP Stella Creasy, a paralyzed Stormont took advantage, despite an 11 o’clock district council attempt to block the change. But since then, Northern Ireland’s Department of Health has not mandated or funded any services. Some trusts have attempted to provide a service without funding or a mandated framework, with some areas relying on a single doctor.
After the ruling, Chrissy said politicians who were “too slow” to introduce legal abortion had to act.
“The Supreme Court told them today enough is enough. The Foreign Secretary must now urgently determine how he intends to comply with the law, prevent those who oppose it from denying provisions through bureaucratic hurdles and uphold the human rights of women in Northern Ireland,” she said.
After starting legal proceedings this year, Lewis formally directed Stormont to commission services before the end of March 2022, but the NIHRC says the situation has not improved.
The Western Trust, which covers Derry, has not offered a service since June, with a judge on Thursday noting that women in Northern Ireland face a zip code lottery if they seek an abortion.
In his ruling at Belfast High Court on Thursday, Colton said: “Those in public office, including the judiciary, must obey and apply the law. It should not be necessary for the court to delegate something by judicial review in circumstances where it is They hold public office unwilling to comply with their legal obligations because they do not agree with the relevant law.”
The NHRC’s chief commissioner, Alison Kilpatrick, welcomed the ruling, saying it was critical to uphold the human rights of women and girls in Northern Ireland.
Kilpatrick said the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women’s report found that the rights of women and girls in Northern Ireland had been violated, and she said she hoped the ruling would compel Northern Ireland’s Department of Health to take action.
“While different parts of the government argue over who is responsible, women and girls still have to travel to England for abortion services, are forced to continue pregnancies against their wishes or take the unregulated abortion pill,” she said. “These are decisions that women and girls should not make in 2021. This is not just a legal argument that affects real people every day.”
The Guardian has contacted the Northern Ireland office for comment.