Abortion – Links to L&RUK posts

Below is an index of the posts on L&RUK concerning abortion which we have covered since 2012.


Church of England statement on abortion  The Church of England issued a statement on its position on abortion, following the open letter ‘Abortion Pledges‘ in The Times on Thursday 28th November. (29 November 2019).

Recent statistics on abortion: UK. On 6 October 2014, the House of Commons Library published its latest Statistics on abortion, (Standard Note SN04418). (8 October 2014).

England and Wales

End of life care, “best interests”: JB. In JB v University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust & Anor [2020] EWCA Civ 1772, the Court of Appeal considered the case of RS. He had had a heart attack in November 2020 and his brain had been deprived of oxygen for at least 45 minutes – since when he had been in a coma. In the Court of Protection, Cohen J decided that it was in RS’s best interests to receive palliative care only rather than life-sustaining treatment. (30 December 2020).

Buffer zones around abortion clinic – judgment. Dulgheriu (and another) (Appellants) v London Borough of Ealing (Respondent) [2019] EWCA Civ 1490, On appeal from: [2018] EWHC 1667 (Admin). Given the established persisting impact upon the quality of life on those visiting the centre as a consequence of the activities of the protest groups, a PSPO was necessary to strike a fair balance between protecting the rights of the service users on the one hand and the protesters on the other. The judge was entitled so to conclude and further to have determined that the creation of a Safe Zone, within which the protesters could not enter, and the provision of a Designated Area some way off, in which limited protest could take place, was a proportionate response. (21 August 2019).

Re AB: Termination of pregnancy. A review of tragic case of Re AB in which the Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the Court of Protection to permit an NHS Trust to perform an abortion on. a 24-year-old woman. Re AB [2019] EWCOP 26, [2019] EWCA Civ 1215. (15 July 2019).  

ASA Ruling on Both Lives Matter poster. On 2 August, the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) published its ruling on a poster by the pro-life campaign group Both Lives Matter following a challenge by fourteen complainants on whether the claim “100,000 People are alive today because of our laws on abortion” was misleading and could be substantiated. Their complaints were not upheld.  (5 August 2017).

Government review of abortion clinic protests. On 26 November, the Government published a Press Notice announcing a review into harassment and intimidation near abortion clinics. (27 July 2017).

Conservative religious views, parental access, the ECHR – and blogging: A v Cornwall Council. In a rather unusual case, Dingemans J has had to consider whether the moral attitudes – as revealed by his blog posts – of a father who was estranged from the mother of his son supported the Family Court’s decision not to allow him parental access. A v Cornwall Council [2017] EWHC 842 (QB). (2 May 2017).

Public bodies, quasi-law and religion. On 10 November 2014, the Public Accounts Select Committee (PASC) published its Report, Who’s accountable? Relationships between Government and arm’s-length bodies: the result of its inquiry “Accountability of quangos and public bodies”, which was launched on 28 February 2014. (12 November 2014).

High Court’s role in 13-year-old’s abortion. The case X (A Child) [2014] EWHC 1871 (Fam) has provoked adverse reaction from a number of pro-life commentators and others. However, the role of the court is more nuanced than reports might at first suggest, and although the consequence of the court hearing was that Child X did undergo a termination, this was with her consent which was given following the discussion procedure outlined by the judge. (12 June 2014).

Abortion guidance and procedures revised. On 23 May 2014, the Department of Health issued a Press Release announcing the publication of two new documents relating to abortion: Guidance in Relation to Requirements of the Abortion Act 1967; and Procedures for Approval of Independent Sector Places for the Termination of Pregnancy. (30 May 2014).

Anatomical teaching & research and the law. (27 May 2014).

NI abortion ruling: a “pro-life” victory ?. In his ruling on A & Anor, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Health [2014] EWHC 1364 (Admin) Mr Justice King held that the claimant, whose ordinary/usual residence was in Northern Ireland, was not entitled to access in England abortion services free of charge. (13 May 2014).

Cremation, incineration and the foetus. Comments following Channel 4 broadcast Dispatches programme, Amanda Holden: Exposing Hospital Heartache, on 24 March 2014. (27 March 2014).

Quasi law to circumvent 1967 Abortion Act? On 22 November the Department of Health published the consultation Procedures for the Approval of Independent Sector Places for the Termination of Pregnancy but “due to an administrative error the deadline for responses is being extended from 17 January to 3 February 2014”. In parallel with the DoH consultation on the revision of Required Standard Operating Procedures, (RSOPs), for independent clinics, other issues relevant to abortion have come into the public domain either as a result of internal action such as that by the Care Quality Commission or externally through media investigations. (21 January 2014).

Late abortion ruling for bipolar patient. In a recent decision of the Court of Protection, Re SB (A patient; capacity to consent to termination) [2013] EWHC 1417 (COP) 21 May 2013, Mr Justice Holman held that it had not been established that a woman, SB, undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder lacked capacity to make decisions about her desire to terminate her pregnancy and stated that he would either make a declaration to that effect or dismiss the proceedings. Comparison has been made with an earlier case Re P (abortion) (2013) MHLO 1 (COP) [1] in which a senior judge ruled that a pregnant woman with significant mental health impairments would not have to undergo an abortion as she had enough capacity to decide whether or not she wanted to become a mother. Although the outcomes of the two cases were different and at first sight contradictory, both followed the application of the same logic, turning on the application of ss 1(2) and 1(4) Mental Capacity Act 2005 to s 1(1)(a) Abortion Act 1967.  (28 May 2013).

Reduction of abortion limits – the timeline of life. A table attempts to summarize the legal, religious, medical and other criteria and guidance that apply in Great Britain to the development of the foetus, presented chronologically from conception until shortly after birth. The law in Northern Ireland is different and has been covered in recent posts, here. (23 November 2012).

Self-induced abortion near full term. On 17 September 2012 a woman who had aborted her own baby in the final phase of her pregnancy was jailed for eight years. R v Sarah Louise Catt [2013] EWCA Crim 1187. (27 September 2012).



Abortion law devolution to Scotland. Summary of Commons’ Report stage of Scotland Bill and devolving competence for abortion legislation. (11 November 2015).

The Smith Commission, further Scottish devolution – and religion? The Report of the Smith Commission for further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament was published on Thursday. (29 November 2014).

Abortion (Sex-Selection): Ten Minute Rule Bill On 4 November 2014, Fiona Bruce (Congleton) (Con) was given leave under the Ten Minute Rule (SO No. 23) in the Commons to bring in her Bill “to clarify the law relating to abortion on the basis of sex-selection; and for connected purposes”, [HC Hansard 4 Nov 2014 Vol 587 (55) Col 677). (4 November 2014).

Abortion, conscientious objection and the UK Supreme Court: Greater Glasgow Health Board v Doogan & Anor. A post last April reported the judgment of the Inner House in Doogan & Anor v NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board [2013] ScotCS CSIH 36. Yesterday the Supreme Court allowed the Health Board’s appeal and set aside the Inner House’s declarator. (18 December 2014).

Abortion, conscientious objection and the UK Supreme Court: Greater Glasgow Health Board v Doogan & Anor. A post in April 2013 reported the judgment of the Inner House in Doogan & Anor v NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board [2013] ScotCS CSIH 36. Yesterday the Supreme Court allowed the Health Board’s appeal and set aside the Inner House’s declarator. (18 December 2014).

Abortion, conscientious objection and the UK Supreme Court: Greater Glasgow Health Board v Doogan & Anor. A post in April 2013 reported the judgment of the Inner House in Doogan & Anor v NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board [2013] ScotCS CSIH 36. On 17 December 2014, the Supreme Court allowed the Health Board’s appeal and set aside the Inner House’s declarator. (18 December 2014).

The Abortion Act 1967 and the right of conscientious objection. Mary Doogan and Connie Wood, the labour ward co-ordinators at the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, who sought to assert their conscientious objection to supervising staff involved in abortions have won their appeal. In Doogan & Anor v NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board [2013] ScotCS CSIH 36 (24 April 2013) an Extra Division of the Inner House (Mackay of Drumadoon, Dorrian & McEwan) overturned the decision of the Lord Ordinary [Lady Smith] dismissing their petition for judicial review and refusing the petitioners’ minute. (25 April 2013).

Abortion and conscientious objection. Comment on Doogan & Anor, Re Judicial Review [2012] ScotCS CSOH 32 (29 February 2012) (14 June 2012).

Northern Ireland

Abortion law, same sex marriage and opposite sex civil partnership in Northern Ireland: updateWritten Statement, made by Lord Duncan of Springbank (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland) was published on the UK Parliament website on 5 November 2019. (5 November 2019).

Same-sex marriage and abortion in Northern Ireland: latest developments. The Northern Ireland (Formation of Executive) Bill as amended in Committee of the whole House was read the third time and passed: it now goes to the Lords.

Abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. On 21 October, the failure of a last-ditch attempt at the Stormont Assembly to stop abortion law changes in Northern Ireland, triggered the introduction of new provisions under the  Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019.(22 October 2019).

Abortion in Northern Ireland from 22 October 2019. (21 October 2019).

Abortion law in Northern Ireland: the Government’s initial response. An Urgent Question in the Commons on 7 June 2018 immediately following the ruling of the Supreme Court in Human Rights Commission for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland: Abortion) [2018] UKSC 27, (8 June 2018).

Breaking news: Supreme Court dismisses Northern Ireland abortion appeal, A majority of the Court dismissed the appeal on the ground that the NIHRC did not have standing to bring the proceedings. The court did not, therefore, have jurisdiction to make a declaration of incompatibility in this case. (7 June 2018).

Abortion and fatal foetal abnormality in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Departments of Health and Justice have published a significantly-delayed report which recommends a change in the law to allow abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality (FFA). (25 April 2018).

The UN, CEDAW and abortion law in Northern Ireland, (The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women published the report of its inquiry concerning the United Kingdom under Article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), together with the response of the United Kingdom Government. (23 February 2018).

Abortion and human rights in Northern Ireland [updated] The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal has allowed the appeal by the Attorney General, John Larkin QC, against the Order made by Horner J at first instance in which he held that the abortion law in Northern Ireland was incompatible with the UK’s obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 in the circumstances where the foetus was diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality or where the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. It quashed the declaration and concluded, by a majority, that the Court should not intervene in what was a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly to decide. (29 June 2017).

Access for Northern Ireland women to free abortion in England: R (A and B). By a 3-2 majority, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal in R (A and B) v Secretary of State for Health [2017] UKSC 41. (14 June 2017).

New guidance on abortion law in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety published new Guidance for Health and Social Care Professionals on Termination of Pregnancy in Northern Ireland. (29 March 2016).

Northern Ireland abortion law: declaration of incompatibility. In the sequel to his judgment in Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Re Judicial Review [2015] NIQB 96, Horner J has concluded that the current abortion law in Northern Ireland does not provide adequate protection for the human rights of pregnant women where there is a serious malformation of the foetus or a fatal foetal abnormality or where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest – and is therefore in breach of Article 8 ECHR (private and family life) and incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1998. (16 December 2015).

Northern Ireland abortion law breaches Article 8 ECHR: Re NI Human Rights Commission. The High Court in Belfast held in Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Re Judicial Review [2015] NIQB 96, that the abortion legislation in Northern Ireland is in breach of Article 8 ECHR (private and family life). (30 November 2015).

Northern Irishwomen not entitled to free NHS abortions in England: R (o.a.o. A). R (A (A Child) & Anor ) v Secretary of State for Health [2015] EWCA Civ 771. (24 July 2015).

NI Human Rights Commission seeks judicial review of abortion law. (15 June 2015).

Abortion law reform in Northern Ireland – so will it happen this time round?. (10 October 2014).

Abortion law reform in Northern Ireland – so will it happen this time round?. Hard on the heels of the publication of the latest UK statistics for termination of pregnancy there now comes the long-awaited announcement that the Northern Ireland Executive is to consult on a very limited proposal to relax its laws on abortion: in cases of lethal foetal abnormality and where a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. The consultation follows the decision by Northern Ireland’s Department of Health last year that the issue of abortion for cases of lethal foetal abnormality could not be addressed by current abortion guidelines. (10 October 2015).

Reforming abortion law in Northern Ireland? The case-law material first appeared in my article on “Abortion: An Irishwoman’s Right to Choose?” 166 Law & Justice (2011) 5–27; but what follows takes the story further. (20 December 2013).

Abortion law in Ireland: the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 came into law on 30 July. The Act, which gives statutory effect to the terms of the Constitution of Ireland as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Attorney General v X [1992] IESC 1, will be commenced by order and the Department of Health intends to bring in three sets of consequential Regulations. (14 August 2013).

Mental Capacity v Legal Capacity in Ireland. (26 July 2013).

Reforming abortion law in Ireland. The proposed legislation is a limited response to the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar on which we reported in our roundup on 18 November 2012. But it does not seek to legalise abortions for women pregnant as result of rape or carrying foetuses with fatal abnormalities. Nor does the Bill tackle the issue of implementing the ECtHR’s judgment in A, B and C v Ireland [2010] ECHR 2032 on the provision of abortion in the case of a risk to the life of the pregnant woman. (17 July 2013).

New premature birth data and the abortion limit The latest EPICure  results indicate “More babies survive before 27 weeks, but severe disability rates remain unchanged”. While the focus of the BBC and other reports was the rates of survival, (“Severely premature babies: More survive being born early”), The Independent highlighted the implications of the results on assessments of the abortion limit, and Cabinet ministers’ claims that the abortion limit should be lowered because “the science has moved on”, (“Science refutes ministers’ abortion claims”). (7 December 2012).

Ireland and abortion – the debate continues. The Irish Government has published the Report of the Expert Group on the Judgment in A, B and C v Ireland  which was established by Government to recommend a series of options on how to implement the ECtHR’s judgment in A, B and C v Ireland 25579/05 [2010] ECHR 2032 (16 December 2010). (28 November 2012).


Sweden, abortion and conscientious objection: Ellinor Grimmark  Ellinor Grimmark is a midwife. In November 2013 she was offered a job by Höglandssjukhuset women’s clinic; but when she explained that she could not perform abortions because of her conscientious objection and her Christian faith, the clinic withdrew the job offer – and she later filed a complaint. In Ellinor Grimmark v Region Jönköpings lan 2015-11-12 nr T 1781-14, Jönköping District Court [Tingsrätt] dismissed with costs her complaint of discrimination. (17 November 2015).

Conscientious objection to participating in abortion: Grimmark and Steen. The Third Section ECtHR has held that the complaints of two Swedish midwives who were unable to practise because of their objections to taking part in termination or pregnancy were inadmissible. (13 March 2020).

Abortion and rape, Poland and the ECHR. The seemingly-random operation of Poland’s abortion laws has come before the ECtHR yet again, P and S v Poland 57375/08 HEJUD [2012] ECHR 1853 (30 October 2012). (4 November 2012).

European Citizens’ Initiative against embryo research: AG’s Opinion in Puppinck. Advocate General Bobek has issued his Opinion in Puppinck and Others v Commission  [2019] EUECJ C-418/18P O. (7 August 2019).

The rights of the unborn: a troubling decision from the [Irish] High Court? In a cross-post from Human Rights in Ireland, Máiréad Enright of Kent Law School analyses some recent judgments on the rights of foetuses under the Irish Constitution. (16 August 2016).

Amoris Laetitia: some observations, Some observations on Pope Francis’s second Apostolic Exhortation, Pope Francis’ highly-anticipated post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia”. (9 April 2016).

High Court of Ireland rules brain-dead pregnant woman can be taken off life support. A three-judge bench of the High Court of Ireland (Kearns P, Baker & Costello JJ) ruled in PP v Health Service Executive [2014] 10792P that a brain-dead pregnant woman could be taken off life support. (27 December 2014).

German Catholic bishops and the “morning-after” pill. A recent decision of the German Roman Catholic Church to administer certain Emergency Contraception, (EC), medication (i.e. “morning-after” pills) to rape victims has aroused controversy within the wider Church on an issue that has theological, scientific and canon law implications. (2 March 2013)

More on A, B and C v Ireland and reforming abortion law. On Tuesday Dáil Éireann held a short debate on the Report of the Expert Group on the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in A, B and C v Ireland. The statement was repeated in the Seanad yesterday, 6 December. (7 December 2012).

Genetic disorders, embryo screening, private and family life and Article 8. (1 September 2012). Costa and Pavan v Italy 54270/10 [2012] ECHR (28 August). (1 September 2012).

Gender-selective abortion

Gender-specific abortion – some action, but little progress. An update on the action against one of the doctors in the Telegraph ‘sting’, and the report from the Department of Health. The CPS concluded that in each case there was sufficient evidence of an abortion offence, although this was a finely balanced decision; however, it was not in the public interest to prosecute and the CPS published two statements regarding its decision on 5 September 2013 and 7 October 2013. (6 November 2015).

We covered these developments in: Gender-specific abortion: statistics, (12 September); Gender-specific abortion: law and ethics, (18 September); and in Gender-specific abortion: the CPS Statement, (9 October)); and reported on the Westminster Hall debate in Gender-specific abortion: the Attorney-General’s view, (10 October).

Gender-specific abortion prosecutions halted. In 2012, the Daily Telegraph organized an undercover operation into gender-specific (sex-selective) abortion at various abortion clinics in England and in February that year passed evidence concerning Doctors Palaniappan Rajmohan and Prabha Sivaraman to the Crown Prosecution Service and the police. The CPS concluded that in each case there was sufficient evidence of an abortion offence, although this was a finely balanced decision; however, it was not in the public interest to prosecute and the CPS published two statements regarding its decision on 5 September 2013 and 7 October 2013. (18 March 2015).

Abortion (Sex-Selection): Ten Minute Rule Bill. Fiona Bruce (Congleton) (Con) given leave under the Ten Minute Rule (SO No. 23) in the Commons to bring in her Bill “to clarify the law relating to abortion on the basis of sex-selection; and for connected purposes”, [HC Hansard 4 Nov 2014 Vol 587 (55) Col 677).  Ms Bruce spoke in favour of her motion and no-one spoke against – but there was a division on the motion for leave, which was agreed by 181 votes to 1. (4 November 2014).

Lords consider gender-selective abortion. Gender-selective abortion featured twice in the House of Lords on Thursday 3 April. The Written Answer HL Hansard 3 Apr 2014 : Vol 753 Col WA217, and short debate in the Grand Committee where Baroness Knight of Collingtree put the question: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they intend to take to investigate reported law breaking by those carrying out terminations of pregnancies”, HL Hansard, 3 Apr 2014 : Vol 753 Col GC280.  (8 April 2014).

Gender-specific abortion: the Attorney-General’s view. At the end of a debate in Westminster Hall, Attorney-General Dominic Grieve was given the opportunity to comment on the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision not to prosecute the two doctors alleged to have contravened the Abortion Act 1967 in the matter of gender-selective abortion. (10 October 2013).

Gender-specific abortion: the CPS Statement. A further statement from Director of Public Prosecutions on abortion related cases. (9 October 2013).

Gender-specific abortion: law and ethics. Comparison between UK and Canadian legislation. (18 September 2013).

Gender-specific abortion: statistics. (12 September 2013).


Down Syndrome

The Abortion Act 1967 and Down Syndrome: Crowter In R (Crowter & Ors) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2021] EWHC 2536 (Admin), the issue before the Court was the fact that the Abortion Act 1967 differentiates between pregnancies where there is a substantial risk that, if born, a child would be “seriously handicapped” (the terminology used in the Act) and those where it would not. (3 December 2021).


Early medical abortion and COVID-19: R (Christian Concern) On 19 May 2020, at a rolled-up hearing, the Divisional Court (Singh LJ and Chamberlain J) dismissed a challenge to the decision of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to make changes to certain abortion measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. (2 June 2020)

Conscientious objection

See posts on Grimmark, supra

Last updated, 17 July 2022 at 07:22. 

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Abortion – Links to L&RUK posts" in Law & Religion UK, 16 July 2022, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2022/07/16/abortion-links-to-lruk-posts/

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