Welcome to The Lawyer Portal Monthly News! This month’s post will cover the news stories from 1st May to 31st May. This month saw global debate when Alabama passed a bill banning abortion. Boris Johnson has been ordered to attend court regarding alleged lies in the Brexit campaign. Some EU citizens, who were denied a vote in the recent European elections, are planning to sue the UK government and finally, Prime Minister Theresa May resigns.
Alabama has become the latest US state to restrict abortions by passing a bill to outlaw the procedure in almost all cases. This new law includes a ban on abortion in rape or incest cases too.
Supporters say they expect the law to be blocked in court but hope that the appeals process will bring it before the Supreme Court. They would like the court to overturn the historic 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that legalised abortion. Alabama’s Lieutenant Governor, Will Ainsworth said: “Roe must be challenged, and I am proud that Alabama is leading the way.”
Alabama’s 35-seat Senate is dominated by men, and none of its four female senators backed the ban. Sixteen other states are seeking to impose new restrictions on abortion. Under the bill, doctors face ten years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for carrying out the procedure. A woman who has an abortion would not be held criminally liable and cases where the mothers’ life is at serious risk is permitted.
Earlier this year the governors of four states – Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio – signed bills banning abortion if an embryonic heartbeat can be detected. This is the same, some argue, as a ban as a heartbeat can be detected as early as the sixth week, often before many women even know they are pregnant.
The Tory leadership candidate has been accused of misconduct in public office after allegedly making the claim during the campaign in 2016 for the EU referendum. It is a private prosecution launched by campaigner Marcus Ball, who crowdfunded £200,000 for the case.
A source close to Mr Johnson told the BBC that it was a case which was a “politically motivated attempt to reverse Brexit.”
The £350m figure was used by the pro-Brexit Vote Leave group throughout the referendum. It also appeared on the side of a campaign bus, which urged the UK to “fund our NHS instead.”
The former Foreign Secretary faces three allegations of misconduct in public office between 2016-17 covering both the campaign for the EU referendum result and the general election campaign of that year.
Lewis Power QC, who represents Mr Ball, said Mr Johnson’s conduct had been: “both irresponsible and dishonest.” He went on to say that the application was not brought to undermine the referendum result and it was not about what could have been done with the saved money.
In her written ruling, District Judge Margot Coleman said: “the applicants case shows ample evidence that the proposed defendant knew that the statements were false and there is sufficient evidence of an issue to proceed with trial.”
The government is facing the prospect of being sued by campaigners for EU citizens in the UK and British Nationals Abroad who were denied a vote in the European parliamentary elections.
John Halford, who is working with the3million group in the UK, said that this week’s electoral fiasco was something a democracy could not tolerate. A crowdfunding campaign was launched on Saturday to finance the legal case, which is currently being urgently explored. They are examining their legal options and said a judicial review test case to “expose the discrimination in all its forms and clearly rule that it was unlawful” was likely.
Many EU citizens were turned away from polling stations with their names crossed off the ballot, while Britons overseas protested that their ballot papers only showed up in the days before or did not show up at all. The Guardian has received over 1,000 stories from EU citizens and Britons abroad all over the world.
On Friday 24th May, the head of the Electoral Commission, Bob Posner, conceded the election process had not been good enough but said it was partly because the government had left it late to confirm participation in elections it said would not happen because of Brexit.
In a statement, the current Prime Minister said she had done her best to deliver Brexit and it was a matter of “deep regret” that she had been unable to do so. The party said it hoped a new leader would be in place by the end of July.
Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt has been the latest MP to say that he will run following Boris Johnson, Esther McVey and Rory Stewart. More than a dozen other MPs are believed to be seriously considering enter the leadership contest.
In her statement, delivered in Downing Street, Mrs May said she had done “everything I can” to convince MPs to support the withdrawal deal she had negotiated with the European Union but that it was now in the “best interests of the country for a new Prime Minister to lead that effort.”
Words: Alicia Gibson
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