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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 April, 2003, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Abortion broadcast ruling overturned
Pro-Life Alliance campaigners
Anti-abortion campaigners say they will fight on
A court judgement which could have seen an abortion broadcast on UK television for the first time has been overturned by the House of Lords.

The anti-abortion Pro-Life Alliance last year had a television ban on parts of its election broadcasts declared illegal in a Court of Appeal judgement.

But on Thursday the House of Lords reversed the decision in favour of the television companies accused of censorship.

Television companies, including the BBC, refused to screen in full the alliance's party political broadcast containing "shocking" images of abortions in 2001.

'Win for audiences'

The Court of Appeal's itself overturned a previous judgement by the High Court in the drawn out legal case.

Court of Appeal judge Lord Justice Laws last year branded the refusal to broadcast pictures of abortion operations as an act of censorship.

But on Thursday the law lords ruled in the BBC's favour by a majority of five to four.

The law lords will give the reasons for their decisions later.

The judgement was welcomed by Anne Sloman, the BBC's chief political adviser.

She said: "We have been fighting this case in one form or another for a number of years.

"We are absolutely delighted with the result. This case has gone on a long time and we were always fighting it not only on behalf of the broadcasters themselves but on behalf of our audiences."

'Fighting on'

A spokesman for the Pro-Life Alliance told BBC News Online: "Obviously, we are very disappointed and surprised by this decision.

"One important thing to note is it's not really proper to call it a judgement - we have not been told the reasons for the decision.

"We obviously will be fighting on and we mean to show the British people the truth about abortion."

The spokesman said the alliance would be taking legal advice on whether it could now take the case to the European courts.

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