Northern Ireland's abortion ban — which applies to cases of rape, incest, and fatal fetal abnormalities — is "incompatible with human rights," a high court judge ruled Monday. Unlike the rest of the U.K., the region only permits abortions in cases where the woman's life or health is seriously threatened, The New York Times reports.
"She has to face all the dangers and problems, emotional or otherwise, of carrying a fetus for which she bears no moral responsibility and is merely a receptacle to carry the child of a rapist and/or a person who has committed incest, or both," said Mark Horner, the judge who delivered the groundbreaking ruling for the Belfast High Court. "In doing so, the law is enforcing prohibition of abortion against an innocent victim of a crime in a way which completely ignores the personal circumstances of the victim."
Medical professionals convicted of performing illegal abortions in Northern Ireland face life in prison, The Guardian reports. The Department of Justice, which the region's Human Rights Commission had taken to court, has six weeks to appeal the ruling. Julie Kliegman