LONDON, February 6, 2002 ( – Last week, on the basis that the morning after pill can cause an abortion, the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) was given leave to proceed with a judicial review of the decision to reclassify the drug as one available from pharmacists without a doctor’s prescription. SPUC argues that the Offences Against the Person Act, in place since 1861, prohibits supply of any “poison or other noxious thing” with intent to cause miscarriage.

Pro-abortion groups however are alarmed since they say a ruling on the abortifacient nature of the morning after pill would be applied to all abortifacient “contraception” including the pill, the IUD and other products which cause the death of an embryo after fertilization. Tony Belfield of the Family Planning Association said: “The association is enormously concerned. We think that people need to be very aware of what is going on and make a noise about it.” Ann Furedi of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Britain’s largest private abortion provider, said that a victory for SPUC was “something that people are taking very seriously”.

The Guardian reports that arguments in the case will centre on the precise moment at which a woman becomes pregnant, with pro-abortion groups arguing that pregnancy begins at implantation and SPUC arguing that pregnancy begins at fertilization.

The case begins in the high court in London on Tuesday 12 February.

See the coverage in The Guardian (London):,11381,642868,00.html

(with files from SPUC )