Abortion: Legal Challenge to Exclusion of N. Ireland Women from NHS


The Court of Appeal has reserved judgement on a legal challenge to the exclusion of women from N. Ireland from NHS abortion services.

Last May Mr Justice King ruled in the High Court that the residence-based exclusion was lawful, despite the fact that people living in the North pay the same amount of taxes as everyone else in the UK and should therefore be entitled to the same services. The case was brought forward by a woman known as A in order to protect her identity and her mother.

Three years ago, A, like many other women from the island of Ireland, had to raise the nearly £900 to avail of an abortion in England.

It is estimated that 2,000 pregnant people leave the North every year for the medical procedure, amounting to 5 women a day. This, along with the figure of 12 women a day from the southern state, brings the total amount of women leaving the island to 17 a day.

There is no doubt that this figure would be much higher if not for the invaluable work that Women Help Women and Women on Web do.

In the context of the North, it is quite clear that women here are discriminated against compared to women in other parts of the UK. It is unjust that we have to pay the same amount of tax towards the NHS as everyone else in the UK but cannot access the same services as other people can.

The ban of abortion on the whole island has not stopped abortion and it never will; it will only make abortions harder to access resulting in economic and sometimes psychological turmoil.

While we continue to live under this misogynistic state, north and south of the border, the Abortion Support Network provides an indispensable service for those in need. If you can please donate to them here: www.abortionsupport.org.uk/donate/