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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Supreme Court rejects Northern Ireland free abortions appeal

The UK’s highest court has narrowly rejected an appeal by a mother and daughter in their legal battle for women from Northern Ireland to receive free abortions on the NHS in England.

Supreme Court justices announced their three to two majority decision in London earlier today.

Reacting to the ruling the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), which was formed in 1967 – the same year as the Abortion Act was passed, said that the whole case was based upon a distorted view of human rights.

“This case had no basis in genuine human rights. Instead this should be seen as a cynical attempt by the British abortion industry to get around Northern Ireland’s legal protection for children before birth,” said Liam Gibson, SPUC’s Northern Ireland Development Officer.

“It was about bringing in more customers from Northern Ireland,” he added. “Every day in Britain there are about 550 abortions. The majority of these are carried out in commercial abortion facilities but they’re paid for by the NHS.

“This arrangement has made abortion a multi-million-pound industry. Yet the number of women travelling from Northern Ireland for abortions in England has steadily declined over the past 10 years.”

The 20-year-old woman at the centre of the appeal was 15 in October 2012 when she and her mother travelled from Northern Ireland to Manchester and was told she had to pay hundreds of pounds for a private termination because she was excluded from free abortion services.

They originally lost their action in the High Court in London in May 2014 when a judge ruled that the exclusion was lawful.

The mother and daughter, who cannot be named for legal reasons, suffered a further defeat at the Court of Appeal in 2015.

Picture: The Supreme Court building in London. (Fiona Hanson/PA Wire).