Protecting human rights in childbirth

Registered Charity Number 1151152

Birthrights intervenes in Supreme Court case

On the 2nd November, Helen Mountfield QC will be intervening, on behalf of Birthrights and a coalition of charities, in an important appeal, R (A and B) v Secretary of State for Health to be heard at the Supreme Court challenging the Secretary of State’s decision to bar women who travel from Northern Ireland to England from NHS-funded abortion care.

The case, was originally brought in 2014 by a young woman, A, and her mother, B. At the time of her abortion, A was a 15 year old girl resident in Northern Ireland, who travelled to Manchester in 2012 with her mother to end her pregnancy, at a cost of £900. While their case was originally unsuccessful at the High Court and the Court of Appeal, A and B have been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Birthrights is part of a coalition which also comprises Alliance for Choice, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas), FPA, and the Abortion Support Network. They are represented at the Supreme Court by two barristers; Helen Mountfield QC, from Matrix chambers, and Jude Bunting, at Doughty Street Chambers; and the leading firm of solicitors, Leigh Day & Co.

Speaking in advance of the appeal, Rebecca Schiller, CEO of Birthrights, said:

“It is shocking that the human rights rights of Northern Irish women are still being contravened to such a degree in 2016. It is unacceptable that women must choose between keeping an unwanted pregnancy, risk prosecution by purchasing illegal abortion pills or spend significant sums to travel to England. We hope that the outcome of this appeal will be the beginning of Northern Irish women’s human rights being upheld; both at home and in England.”

You can read our written intervention here.

Birthrights can provide press spokespeople – please see our Press page for more details.