A young woman and her mother have lost a Court of Appeal challenge against a ruling that prevents women from Northern Ireland receiving free abortions on the NHS in England.

Their case was rejected by three judges in London following a hearing last month.

Lord Justice Moore-Bick, Lord Justice Elias and Lord Justice McCombe had heard that the case was of considerable importance as 2,000 women and girls from Northern Ireland, where abortion is banned, travel to England for terminations every year.

The 18-year-old applicant was aged 15 when she made the journey in October 2012 with her mother and was told she had to pay hundreds of pounds for a private termination because she was excluded from free abortion services.

Referred to in court as A to protect her identity, she and her mother challenged a decision of Mr Justice King at the High Court in May last year that the exclusion was lawful.

The women's solicitor, Angela Jackman, a partner at law firm Simpson Millar, said after the decision was announced: "We have achieved some success in that the Court of Appeal has confirmed the significance of human rights legislation for this important issue.

"My clients did not give up last year and do not intend to give up now."

She said they would be seeking to take to case to the Supreme Court and if necessary apply to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in the light of "favourable rulings" on human rights issues.