Belfast Telegraph

Attorney General Larkin says abortion amendment inconsistent with human rights

John Larkin
John Larkin

Northern Ireland’s attorney general has said the abortion amendment passed by MPs is unclear and inconsistent with human rights texts.

John Larkin said there are issues with the amendments, which MPs have instructed the secretary of state to implement.

On Tuesday, MPs approved amendments which require Westminster to legalise same-sex marriage and liberalise abortion law in Northern Ireland - a move the DUP says breaches the devolution settlement.

The amendment by the Labour MP Stella Creasy and others was passed by 332 votes to 99.

Ms Creasy’s amendment compels the Northern Ireland secretary of state to make regulations “to give effect to the recommendations of the Report of the Inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)”.

Speaking to the Newsletter, Mr Larkin said: “The CEDAW report to which clause 10 refers is, plainly, not drafted clearly or even consistently with important human rights texts.

“Any binding interpretation of what the words in clause 10 actually mean, however, must await the form in which those words are contained, if they are contained, in an Act of Parliament."

The report, which was published last year, contains 13 recommendations which Secretary of State Karen Bradley must now implement.

There has been speculation that the wording of the report is unclear and could potentially move Northern Ireland's abortion law from being the most restrictive in the UK to being the most liberal.

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