Northern Ireland Women Not Allowed Free Abortions in NHS England – Supreme Court Rules


A legal battle for women from Northern Ireland to receive free abortions on the NHS in England has been lost in the Supreme Court

The case of a mother and daughter against the Secretary of State for Health was rejected by a narrow majority of three to two votes in the Supreme Court. Hunt admitted he could make provisions to allow the free NHS abortions access in England for Northern Ireland residents. The mother and daughter claimed his lack of action on this subject was “unlawful”.

Centred on a case of a pregnant 15 year-old from Northern Ireland who went in an English private clinic in 2012 with her mother to get an abortion, costing about £900, the appeal of a mother and daughter was dismissed by the UK’s highest court.

Indeed, abortion law in Northern Ireland is stricter than the rest of the UK, permitting termination only if a woman’s life is at risk, or in case of permanent or serious risk to her mental and physical health.

Lord Wilson did express sympathy with the position of the prosecution and highlighted how the five judges had been “sharply divided” by the case.

While several organisations have expresses their discontent such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) or, on the contrary, their delight with the judgement as for instance the Christian organisation.

Now, mother and daughter have filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to continue their case.


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