The ruling in the English High Court against free abortions for Northern Ireland women in England comes as no surprise. Have campaigners legally examined the situation in Scotland? This now seems like a case for the Supreme Court where the issue would be: Are devolution powers superior to UK equal citizens’ rights? An aspect of the judge’s comments intrigued me:
He ruled that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’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 resident in Northern Ireland”.
Does that mean the English Health Secretary’s duty does not extend to “persons who are ordinarily resident” in Scotland and Wales, where unlike NI the Abortion Act applies, but also applies to their treatment in England for their physical and mental health generally? Has the idea of a universal health service been entirely abandoned?
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London