RCOG response to latest abortion statistics in England and Wales
News 13 June 2019
The Department of Health and Social Care published statistics today which show the number of abortions carried out in England and Wales is at its highest level.
There were 200,608 abortions in 2018, an increase of 4% on the previous year.
Overall, abortion rates have increased in the last decade for all women over the age of 25. Less than half (48%) of abortions were to women who had already had one or more previous births.
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
IN MEMORIAM – David Paintin, UK obstetrician-gynaecologist, lifelong abortion rights campaigner
David Paintin Hon FFSRH MB ChB FRCOG was part of the group from the Abortion Law Reform Association (ALRA) in Britain, which he joined in 1963, that supported Lord Silkin and MP David Steel during the parliamentary debates that resulted in the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act. He also worked hard to increase the acceptability of abortion. He promoted innovation and good practice through his involvement with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and by lecturing on the provision of legal abortion to medical students, family planning doctors and gynaecologists throughout the country.
David qualified in Bristol in 1954. He trained under the supervision of Professor Dugald Baird, in Aberdeen, also a strong abortion rights advocate, before becoming a reader in obstetrics and gynaecology at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London in 1963. From 1963 to 1991, based at St Mary’s Medical School, he organised the teaching of medical students and also as an honorary consultant, provided NHS abortion services for Paddington and North Kensington. He was a chair of the Birth Control Trust (1981-1998) and a trustee of the Pregnancy Advisory Service (1981-1996) and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (1996-2003).
He continued to work on abortion issues. He was editor of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology for a period, and became Emeritus reader in obstetrics and gynaecology at St Mary’s Hospital. In a recent book, he reflected on the legal debates that led to the 1967 Abortion Act and its subsequent implementation, and attempts by parliamentarians to undermine and restrict abortion law in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s. He died aged 88 on 30 March 2019 after a long illness.
SOURCES: Friends of Bpas Newsletter, March 2019 ; Charter for Choice 2015 ; Wikipedia, 4 April 2019 ; Bucks Free Press, 5 April 2019
ABORTION OVERHAUL Women will have faster and easier access to abortions under new national guidelines
Clinics will have to offer a consultation by phone or video within a week of a request as officials warn that long waits are distressing and increase health risks
By Shaun Wooller
12th April 2019
WOMEN will be given quicker and easier access to abortions under new national guidelines.
Clinics will have to offer patients a consultation in person, on the phone or via video call within one week of them requesting one.
Anti-abortion activists harassing women at UK clinics during Lent
Clinic staff say protesters are calling women ‘murderers’ and giving out misleading leaflets
Mon 8 Apr 2019
Anti-abortion protesters are harassing vulnerable women at UK clinics as they ramp up demonstrations for Lent and are giving out leaflets suggesting that having a termination is harder to deal with than being raped, it has been claimed.
Hardline religious activists, some of whom are part of a so-called “40 Days for Life” campaign, have been targeting women in increasing numbers at 10 clinics across the country in the run-up to Easter, the Guardian has been told.
BBC provides abortion information after Call the Midwife row
BBC had said it could not offer advice because abortion was a ‘contentious’ issue
Sun 17 Feb 2019
The BBC has said it will give viewers information about abortion after it was criticised following an episode of the popular drama Call the Midwife.
Women complained that no information was provided on the BBC Action Line after an episode, broadcast this month, in which a patient died following an illegal backstreet abortion.
BBC drops ban on giving abortion advice after Call the Midwife row
Caroline Wheeler and Nicholas Hellen
February 17 2019
The BBC has bowed to pressure to provide viewers with information about abortion after two ministers intervened in a row sparked by an episode of the drama series Call the Midwife.
Penny Mordaunt, the women and equalities minister, and Jackie Doyle-Price, a health minister, wrote to the BBC to complain about its initial refusal to provide information about terminations after the February 3 episode in which a character died after a backstreet abortion.
Abortion: Separating the facts from the fiction
Nov 20 2018
Abortion is a polarising issue. The Government's potential move to take the procedure out of the Crimes Act and treat it as a health issue has sparked debate.
Emotional arguments are coming out from both sides and it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction. So what is the science behind the claims? We asked medical experts and researchers about commonly held beliefs on abortions.
International Safe Abortion Day, 28 September
International Campaign Statement
Normalising Abortion: It’s Part of Our Lives - #LetsTalkAbortion
by Marge Berer, International Coordinator
This year’s theme invites all of us who have something to say about abortion to look inwards, to become aware of the role of abortion in our own lives and in the lives of people we are close to and know. Those of us who have had an abortion have a personal story to tell. Those of us who have not had an abortion, or not yet, undoubtedly know others who have, even if you aren’t aware of it. Perhaps you never asked? Perhaps they have never felt able to tell you, or indeed to tell anyone.
NI women may not be able to access abortion pills in England
By Emma Vardy BBC News
13 September 2018
Women from Northern Ireland who travel to Britain to terminate a pregnancy may not be able to access abortion pills.
On average, 28 women a week travel from NI to England for a termination because, unlike the rest of the UK, the 1967 Abortion Act does not extend to NI.
England is to allow women to take early abortion pills at home, but patients may have to prove residency.