Published Wednesday February 13 2019

Supreme Court grants permission to intervene in NI abortion rights case

Humanists UK were granted permission to intervene in an important case due to be heard later this month on the abortion regime in Northern Ireland.

The case has been brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission who argue that the prohibition on abortion is unlawful in cases of (i) women with pregnancies where the foetus cannot survive birth, (ii) women whose pregnancies arise from rape or incest, and (iii) women with serious malformation of the foetus. Janet Farrell acts for Humanists UK.

The Supreme Court granted permission to Humanists UK to intervene by written and oral submissions as well as by filing evidence from three eminent philosophers and Humanists UK supporters: Professor A.C. Grayling, Professor John Harris and Professor Simon Blackburn. The appeal will be heard on 24-26 October, in the week that the rest of the UK will be marking the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act 1967. The Act enabled access to reproductive services in a wide variety of circumstances in England, Scotland, and Wales, but was excluded from application in Northern Ireland.

The case will be heard by a panel of 7 Supreme Court Justices, including newly appointed President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, and the Northern Irish Justice, Lord Kerr.

A press release by Humanists UK can be read here.