The English high court has rejected a legal challenge today, by the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, (SPUC) to sales of the morning-after pill from pharmacists. Mr Justice Munby handed down his judgement this morning, after which SPUC announced its intention to seek leave to appeal. The judgement ran to 398 paragraphs in total. The judge's principal reason for rejecting SPUC's case was that the term 'miscarriage' in the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 should be understood according to what it means today rather than what it meant when the Act was passed. He asserted that the term miscarriage today "means the termination of an established pregnancy" after implantation. This is the first time that such a concept has been applied in English law. Paul Tully, general secretary of SPUC, said: "It is a sorry day for justice when the courts fail to protect unborn life at its most vulnerable. One of our key objectives in bringing this case has been to stop the systematic deception of women who have been told that the morning-after pill is simply a contraceptive. What the government, the drug company and the pro-abortion lobby have not been able to deny is that the early developing human embryo is killed by this drug. We want to see today's judgement challenged in the Court of Appeal, and before the bar of public opinion. Our campaign to inform the public about the truth of how the morning-after pill works will continue." Anne Weyman, chief executive of the Family Planning Association (FPA), which had opposed SPUC's action, said: "We are delighted that common sense has prevailed and this ridiculous action brought by the SPUC has been totally defeated." She said: "This judicial review was a vexatious attack on women's reproductive rights and a dreadful waste of public and private time and money." The issues of costs and leave to appeal will be dealt with in a further hearing at the high court next Thursday.
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