NRL News

London High Court rules National Health Service not required to pay for abortions of women coming to England from Northern Ireland

by | May 8, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

London4reA girl identified only as “A” has lost her lawsuit demanding that pregnant women traveling from Northern Ireland to England should have their abortions paid for by the National Health Service (NHS).

In October 2012, along with her mother, the then-15 year old “A” traveled to England to have an abortion at the Marie Stopes clinic in Manchester. The girl had been “denied a termination by the medical authorities in Northern Ireland,” according to the Belfast Telegraph. Northern Ireland has very protective abortions laws.

The mother said she understood that publicly-funded health care services “are intended to be free at the point of use for all UK residents,” the newspaper reported.

She continued, “I feel my daughter has been treated most unfairly, because when she required treatment in another part of the United Kingdom she did not get it, and was offered no assistance by the state health care system.”

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Among other points made by Justice King, writing for London’s High Court, was that the Health Secretary’s duty to promote a comprehensive health service in England “is a duty in relation to the physical and mental health of the people of England,” and that duty did not extend “to persons who are ordinarily residents in Northern Ireland.”

Justice King also concluded that “A’s” mother did not understand that the residence-based system reflected “the separation of powers between the health services in the four jurisdictions in the [United Kingdom]”–England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Liam Gibson is the development officer for SPUC (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) in Northern Ireland. He said that had the case gone the other way not only would more unborn children die

“it would have serious implications for the rule of law and the value of Northern Ireland’s devolved institutions. This case is merely the latest effort of abortion advocates in Britain to undermine our law. We have every right to defend our unborn children by law and the High Court recognized that.”

Gibson told reporters that the potential increase in revenue for English abortion providers was the real motivation for the test case:

“Over the years it has been the strategy of abortion providers to make money from the tax-payer by billing the NHS for abortions. This case was about organizations like Marie Stopes International angling for more money from the NHS. Despite enormous pressure from the pro-abortion lobby the number of women seeking abortions in Britain has continued to decline. The figure for 2012 was down by about one third of what it was 10 years earlier”.

Gibson pointed to the “culture of abortion which has taken root in Britain” and concluded

“To see what liberal abortion laws can do to a society the people of Northern Ireland only need to look across the water to Britain. We are determined that that’s not going to happen to our country. Women in crisis pregnancies don’t need free abortions, they need help and support so that they don’t feel they have no choice.”

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