LONDON — Lawyers for a human rights group are asking the U.K’s highest court to rule that Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws subject women to inhuman and degrading treatment.

Abortion is legal in the U.K. — except in Northern Ireland, where it is banned unless a woman’s life is in danger.

Last year the Northern Ireland legislature voted against allowing abortion in cases of rape, incest or fatal fetal abnormality.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission argues that prohibiting abortions in such cases violates internationally protected human rights.

Its lawyer, Nathalie Lieven, says the law subjects women to “trauma and humiliation” and criminalizes people who are already in an “exceptionally vulnerable position.”

The case opened Tuesday at the Supreme Court and is scheduled to last three days.