UK Supreme Court criticizes Northern Ireland abortion laws

Britain's Supreme Court has criticized Northern Ireland's strict anti-abortion laws but dismissed a legal challenge based on the assertion that the laws are a violation of human rights.

A majority of the court decided Thursday that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission did not have the standing to bring the challenge to the abortion law, dismissing the case without taking action.

The justices went on to say, however, that a majority finds Northern Ireland's abortion prohibitions "disproportionate" and that they violate European human rights laws.

Strict Northern Ireland laws that prohibit abortions in cases of pregnancy as a result of incest or rape, and in cases when the fetus has a likely fatal abnormality, have drawn attention since the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly in May to repeal its own strict laws.