R (A) (A Child by her Litigation Friend, B) v Secretary of State for Health [2015] EWCA Civ 771

Written by Sam Carroll

December 2, 2015

The Abortion Act 1967 does not apply to Northern Ireland and subsequently abortions are not, subject to some exceptions, generally available in Northern Ireland.

In this case a 15 year old girl from Northern Ireland sought a judicial review of the refusal of the Secretary of State to provide free abortion services to her as would be possible if she resided in England.

The court or appeal dismissed her application.

It stated that the reason why free abortions are not available is not because women in N Ireland have been singled out for less favourable treatment. It was reasonable to limit the scope of services provided by the NHS to those it had primary care for, namely those in England.

The fact that N Ireland does not provide abortions, because it considers that in most cases they should be illegal, does not compel the Secretary of State to take a different approach to woman in N Ireland.

If you wish to speak in confidence to Melanie or Tanya, please telephone us on 01992 892214.

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