Sunday, 23 Sep 2018

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Northern Ireland abortion laws violate women's rights: UN

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Health Desk—Feb 25, 2018: The United Kingdom violates women's rights in Northern Ireland by unduly restricting their access to abortion, a report by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) said on Friday.

“Denial of abortion and criminalisation of abortion amounts to discrimination against women because it is a denial of a service that only women need. And it puts women in horrific situations,” the committee's vice-chairwoman, Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, said in a statement.

“The situation in Northern Ireland constitutes violence against women that may amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,” she said.

In a response to the report, the United Kingdom government said it did not accept women in Northern Ireland had been subject to grave and systematic violations of their rights.

The report recommended changing the law to stop criminal charges being brought against women and girls undergoing abortion or against anyone assisting in the abortion, with a moratorium on the application of existing laws in the interim.