The country’s abortion laws continue to oppress half of its citizens. The supreme court’s ruling must prompt action
Goodness knows what Sarah Ewart must feel today. To have told publicly and repeatedly the heart-rending story of her own abortion in order to push for a change in Northern Ireland’s abortion laws, only to be told at the final hurdle that her partners in her campaign had no standing to support her case. That she may have won had she taken the case alone. She may well feel alone, just as so many women are when they travel from Northern Ireland to England and Wales for terminations.
A technicality may seem like the worst reason to lose but today’s supreme court judgment on Northern Ireland’s archaic abortion laws is still a victory and another tool in the arsenal of campaigners. It should not, however, take another victim coming forward to tell her story, or take another court case, for change to come. Politicians must act.
Following the Irish referendum, Northern Ireland is the only place in the UK and Ireland – and most of Europe – where terminations are outlawed apart from in the most exceptional circumstances.
How does access to abortion vary across the UK?