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The mood has shifted on abortion in Northern Ireland—and Westminster can’t stall forever

Despite a disappointing Supreme Court decision—and insincere appeals to devolution aplenty—the mood is changing. The only question now is how long citizens in Northern Ireland will have to wait

By Rachel Watters  

Grainne Teggart (right) and Sarah Ewart (second right) arrive at the Supreme Court, Westminster where UK's highest court is to rule on Northern Ireland abortion law challenge.

This week’s emergency debate on repealing sections 58 and 59 of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act (to decriminalise abortion in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) represents a major shift in the Westminster response to the denial of abortion rights in Northern Ireland.

Although broader political motives are clearly at play, the serious consideration of the decriminalisation of abortion via Westminster is more than welcome after decades of increasingly complicit inaction. Legislating…

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