Byron Karemba: Provision of Abortion Services, the Territorial Constitution and the Supreme Court

UK Constitutional Law Association

Introduction

Should UK citizens ordinarily resident in one of the constituent parts of the UK be treated equally in regards to essential social services when they are in a different part of the country? In one sense, the appeal in R (A and B) v Secretary of State for Health in which the Supreme Court recently gave judgment can be reduced to this question of principle. A and B concerned a challenge to the UK Government’s former position of not funding abortion services for women usually resident in Northern Ireland (NI) who seek such services in England. By a majority of 3 to 2, the Court held that the Secretary of State was not acting unlawfully by choosing not to extend his statutory duties to providing the services sought by the appellants on the English health service. The majority judgment was written by Lord Wilson, with whom Lord Reed and…

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