Live updates

Gender abortion decision 'difficult, but balanced'

The Director of Public Prosecutions has said the decision not to prosecute two doctors accused of arranging abortions based on the sex of an unborn baby was "very difficult and finely balanced".

Keir Starmer pledged to reveal more about why the conclusion was reached in due course.

This was a very difficult and finely balanced decision. It was based on the individual facts of the case; it is not a policy decision.

But in light of concerns raised today, I have decided that it would be sensible to put into the public domain the case specific reasons for not prosecuting in much greater detail.

– Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions

Gender abortion accused did not carry out procedure

The General Medical Council can "better deal" with the case of two doctors accused of arranging abortions based on the sex of an unborn baby, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said today.

Jenny Hopkins, the deputy chief crown prosecutor for CPS London, said the fact that the abortions had not actually taken place influenced the decision not to proceed with a prosecution.

While the abortions did not take place, attempting to commit a criminal offence - that is, doing something that goes further than just preparing to commit it - is also a crime in its own right under the Criminal Attempts Act 1981.

Having carefully considered the evidence, we have concluded that although the case is not straightforward, on balance there is enough evidence to justify bringing proceedings for an attempt. Accordingly, we have considered whether a prosecution is required in the public interest.

Advertisement

Hunt: Gender abortions 'completely unacceptable'

The Health Secretary has written to the Government's senior law officer for "urgent clarification" after two doctors accused of arranging abortions based on the sex of an unborn baby avoided prosecution.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Jeremy Hunt said abortion on the grounds of gender selection was "against the law and completely unacceptable" and had written to Attorney General Dominic Grieve about the decision.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided that although there was enough evidence to justify prosecution, it would not be in the public interest.

Abortion law 'confers constitutional rights for women'

11 women travelled from Ireland to Britain every day last year to have an abortion, new figures revealed yesterday. Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it was time the women of Ireland have the rights they deserve enshrined in law.

We had 21 years of inaction, 21 years of inaction.

What's going on here is medical clarity and legal certainty for the women of our country who have had a constitutional right conferred upon them.

Landmark law to allow abortion to save mother's life

Members of the pro choice movement group held a 24 hour protest outside Leinster House in Dublin ahead of the vote Credit: Press Association

The Irish parliament has passed a landmark law to enshrine a woman's right to a termination should her life be at risk, by an overwhelming majority.

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill was drawn up following the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian dentist who died in an Irish hospital in October last year after being denied an abortion as she miscarried.

Her widow claimed the couple had been told a termination was not allowed because "Ireland is a Catholic country."

Advertisement

Irish politicians to vote on abortion law

Irish politicians will vote tonight to legislate for abortion for the first time in the country's history.

Several members of Ireland's coalition Government are expected to rebel over the reforms, which will make it legal for a woman to terminate her pregnancy if her life is at risk.

Overnight a group of anti-abortion activists slept out in front of the Irish parliament, but the law is expected to pass.

Abortion battle reignited across America

Hundreds of people are expected to take part in demonstrations in Texas later tonight as the debate over abortion becomes a flashpoint issue in the United States again.

After Democratic state Senator Wendy Davis pulled off a 12-hour filibuster against a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, state Republicans are again attempting to pass the controversial vote.

More states are moving towards greater restrictions on the procedure - especially for late stage terminations - and some have already passed new laws.

Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports.

Dentist's death highlighted issue of abortion in Ireland

The death of Savita Halappanavar as a result of a miscarriage in an Irish hospital last yearhas thrust the controversial issue of abortion in Ireland into the spotlight.

The Indian dentist died from multiple organ failure from septic shock and E.coli after being refused a termination.

Mrs Halappanavar's death sparked mass protests in Ireland. Credit: Press Assocation

The Government committed itself to legislate and overnight published a proposed law to allow abortion if there is a real and substantial risk to a woman's life, including the threat of suicide, by July.

Elsewhere, an investigation by the health watchdog, Hiqa, is examining the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE to patients, including pregnant women, at risk of clinical deterioration and as reflected in the care and treatment provided to Mrs Halappanavar.

Load more updates