Abortion is now no longer illegal in Northern Ireland
22 October 2019
By Jessica Hamzelou
Abortion in Northern Ireland is now legal. As of midnight on Monday 21 October, women and girls can legally access abortions and seek medical aftercare, and the UK government will fund journeys to England for the procedure.
The UK Offences Against the Person Act ruled that “procuring a miscarriage” was against the law in 1861. The Abortion Act legalised abortions in some cases in 1967, but not in Northern Ireland, where the procedure remained illegal even in cases of rape, incest and when the fetus is unlikely to survive.
Why We’re Campaigning To Change Abortion Law
21 October 2019
At some point in their lives, before the age of 45, one in three women will have an abortion. Just like pregnancy itself, the need to terminate one is a fact of life. More than this, being able to access safe, free and legal abortion services should you need to is acknowledged to be a basic human right for women and pregnant people.
Since 1967, abortion has been legal in England, Scotland and Wales because of the Abortion Act, a victory that was hard-fought and won by campaigners. For those of us who have grown up in Britain since, access to abortion is something we have (for the most part) been able to take for granted.
How Our Government Has Betrayed Women Seeking Abortions
8 October 2019
All over England and Wales, abortion clinics are being targeted by anti-choice, anti-abortion and, ultimately, anti-women protestors. It often goes unreported and the scenes witnessed by clinic staff, pro-choice activists and service users alike are fraught.
In 2018, Ealing council became the first to implement a no-protest 'buffer zone' around the Marie Stopes West London clinic. That buffer zone prevents anti-abortion protestors from coming within 100 metres of the clinic. The move was hailed as a huge and hopeful step forward for the protection of women seeking abortion services against a backdrop of abuse.
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.