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Leave for judicial review of decision to prosecute mother who procured abortion pills for her daughter

The High Court granted leave to judicially review the decision of the PPS to prosecute a mother for procuring abortion pills for her fifteen year old daughter who wanted to terminate her pregnancy.

The girl discovered that she was pregnant in 2013 as a result of being in a relationship with a boy who was a year older than her and also physically abusive.  The girl discussed the situation with her mother and considered her options.  The mother obtained the drugs by post through a website after reading on the British Pregnancy Advisory Service website that they were safe and widely used.  She was not aware that her actions were illegal.

After taking the drugs, the girl was upset and her ex-boyfriend was harassing her.  Her mother was concerned and brought her to her GP.  A doctor at the clinic where the girl sought advice from her GP, reported the matter to police. 

As a result, the mother of the child faces two charges of unlawfully procuring poison with intent to procure a miscarriage, contrary to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and supplying the said poison to her daughter.  Her daughter is not being prosecuted.

The judicial review will consider whether there should be prosecutions in the circumstances, whether the decisions to prosecute would amount to a breach of mother and daughter’s human rights, and whether the decision by police to access medical records without consent breached human rights.

Karen Quinlivan QC, who is acting on behalf of the applicant has indicated that the decision to prosecute in these circumstances could deter other women in a similar situation from seeking medical advice.

The hearing date has been set for May.

Read The Guardian news article here.

Criminal Law, Local Developments