Access to abortion is a basic human right
Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, condemns abortion laws in Alabama and Northern Ireland, and Nik Wood supports Gaby Hinsliff’s call for pro-choice men to speak up
Sun 19 May 2019
Last week the state of Alabama signed into law a bill that prevents women accessing safe abortion services, even in cases of rape and incest (Report, 16 May). Doctors who perform abortion will face up to 99 years in jail. We expect our government to condemn this law in the harshest possible terms and to uphold the determination by the UN that access to abortion is a human right. We expect our government to stand strong with those who will tirelessly fight this injustice by raising this issue at the highest possible levels.
We know that sanctions do not deter women from seeking abortion, but drive them to unsafe treatments or force them to travel to other places. But the voice of the UK is diminished and its authority undermined by the even more draconian abortion laws in Northern Ireland, which criminalise women as well as doctors.
It is time for this government to act, to legislate for safe abortion services in Northern Ireland and to denounce this unjust movement, spreading across America, which will cost women and girls their lives.
Professor Lesley Regan
President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists