Supreme Court hears challenge on NHS-funded Abortions for Northern Irish women


Four members of Doughty Street acted in the Supreme Court challenge on the question of whether women from Northern Ireland are currently unlawfully denied abortions paid for by the National Health Service in England.


The case concerns the last resort for women from Northern Ireland who are currently travelling to the UK mainland and paying privately for a termination each year.


The Supreme Court is considering two issues: whether the Secretary of State for Health's failure to exercise his power to require that abortion services be provided through the NHS in England to women ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland is unlawful, in that he failed to discharge his duty under s.3 of the NHS Act 2006 to "take such steps as he considers necessary to meet all reasonable requirements" for services; and whether the continuing failure to provide abortion services free of charge in England to women ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland infringes Articles 14 and Article 8 ECHR.


Caiolfhionn Gallagher acts for the Appellants, led by Stephen Cragg QC and instructed by Simpson Millar.  Jude Bunting acts for five interveners - Alliance for Choice, British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Birthrights, Family Planning Association and Abortion Support Network - led by Helen Mountfield QC and instructed by Leigh Day.  Heather Williams QC and Kate Beattie act for the sixth intervener, the British Humanist Association, instructed by Bhatt Murphy.


For details of the case on the Supreme Court website, click here.


Press Coverage in the BBC, The Guardian, The Guardian, The Times and ITV News.


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