UK parliament votes to extend same-sex marriage and abortion access in Northern Ireland
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UK parliament votes to extend same-sex marriage and abortion access in Northern Ireland

The UK Parliament on Tuesday voted in favor of two amendments that will compel the British government to legalize same-sex marriage and liberalize abortion in Northern Ireland (NI), if NI cannot reestablish its devolved government before October 21, 2019.

NI is the only province in the country that does not allow same-sex marriage and forbids abortion except when the mother’s life is at risk. The amended Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill is subject to a future executive who could potentially overturn or amend the law.

In June 2018 the UK Supreme Court found NI’s abortion law incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to respect for one’s private and family life) but ultimately held that, because the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission did not have standing to bring the challenge, the court did not have the power to declare the need to change the law.