‘I felt like a criminal’: Record number of women facing illegal abortion investigations

One woman says she's still struggling with the impact the police investigation had on her life, even though the case has now been dropped.

By Mollie Malone, news correspondent
Monday 17 June 2024

Sarah's front room is filled with pictures of her smiling baby. He's now 18 months old. But for almost a year, she was investigated on suspicion of illegally trying to abort him.

In January 2023, Sarah (not her real name) had just delivered her baby prematurely. She called 999 but before paramedics turned up, police came knocking at her door.

"The front room was just full of police," Sarah tells Sky News. "I felt like a criminal."

Continued: https://news.sky.com/story/i-felt-like-a-criminal-record-number-of-women-facing-illegal-abortion-investigations-13153079

UK anti-abortion campaigners running against MPs who back decriminalization

Seat of Labour’s Stella Creasy among those challenged by activists running as independents in the general election

Eve Livingston
Sat 15 Jun 2024
Anti-abortion campaigners are running as independent candidates in the general election against prominent MPs seeking re-election who supported decriminalisation.

The seats of Labour’s Diana Johnson and Stella Creasy and Conservative Caroline Nokes are all being targeted by anti-abortion activists. The three proposed or supported recent amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill which would have stopped prosecutions for anyone ending a pregnancy in England and Wales.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/article/2024/jun/15/uk-anti-abortion-campaigners-running-against-mps-who-back-decriminalisation

Scotland – MSPs approve buffer zones at abortion clinics

June 12, 2024

MSPs in the Scottish Parliament have passed a bill to introduce buffer zones around clinics providing abortions. The legislation would prevent any protests or vigils taking place within 200m (656ft) of 30 clinics offering abortion services.

The Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) (Scotland) Bill, tabled by Scottish Green MSP Gillian Mackay, passed by 118 votes to one.

Continued: https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/c8vv5l8vlp3o

I’m from the UK. Here’s why I chose to pay for my abortion abroad

I felt safer getting my abortion in a country that forthrightly enshrines abortion access in law.

10 June 2024

“Your boobs are huge,” my partner quipped from the hotel bed as I wiggled into my swimming costume. I laughed it off and jiggled them in his face before taking one last swim on our holiday in the Dominican Republic, trying to quiet that voice in the back of my head, whispering, “What if you are pregnant?”

Annoyingly, the lying, anxious voices were actually right this time. I was pregnant. The day after, we landed in Montreal, Canada, and took a test to discover that my gigantic boobs were, in fact, a harbinger of a pregnancy. The shock overwhelmed me; I spun between numbness, despair, confusing tinges of happiness for a child I’d never wanted, and anticipatory grief for what was to come.

Continued: https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/article/why-i-chose-abortion-abroad

UK – Parents call for abortion law change

June 3, 2024
Kris Holland & Sam Read, BBC News, Northamptonshire

A couple who have a daughter with Down's syndrome called for a change in the law on abortion. Steve and Natalie, from Northampton, said the birth of Verity, 15 months ago, had changed their view on the current legislation.

At the moment, pregnancies which involved foetuses with Down's syndrome could be terminated up to the point of birth. The couple want legislation for Down's syndrome amended so that it is in line with the 24-week cut-off for standard pregnancies, which Natalie said was "about equality".

Continued: https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/c9wwejn2kxlo

BPAS calls on the government to “prioritise women’s health” following an unprecedented demand for abortions

June 1, 2024

Demand for abortions hit a record high in 2022, according to new figures. Now, leading abortion service providers are calling on the next government to prioritise women’s health services amid the ongoing cost of living crisis – highlighting the “finite resources” that GPs and sexual health clinics are currently working with.

The latest statistics on access to abortion care across England and Wales have recently been released. The figures, which account for all of 2022, report that 251,377 abortions were carried out that year – the highest number since the Abortion Act was introduced and an increase of 17% on the previous year. The data also reveals a huge socio-economic disparity, with those living in the most deprived areas of England almost twice as likely to have an abortion than those living in the least deprived areas.

Continued: https://www.stylist.co.uk/news/politics/abortion-cost-of-living-women/891301

UK – Inside social media’s illicit abortion trade – where a late termination costs £350

In Britain, abortions are free on the NHS with pills available by post up to 10 weeks. But a fear of prosecution means women are still turning to illegal online sellers, and face deeply traumatic consequences.

Megan Harwood-Baynes
Saturday 25 May 2024

It's taken less than 10 minutes to find someone willing to sell me abortion pills.

Dr Jane* tells me she is based in Dubai but assures me the medication will arrive in the UK in a matter of days. How pregnant you are doesn't matter - she provides pills as late as eight months. But I am not in the late stages of pregnancy, and this is not the depths of the dark web we are messaging on.

Continued: https://news.sky.com/story/inside-social-medias-illicit-abortion-trade-where-a-late-termination-costs-350-13137631

Number of abortions in England and Wales hits record levels

Official figures show 251,377 abortions were carried out in 2022, a 17% increase on previous year

Caroline Davies and agency
Fri 24 May 2024

The number of abortions in England and Wales has reached record levels, with financial pressures believed to be a factor in why women are choosing not to have a baby.

There were 251,377 abortions for women resident in the two nations in 2022, official figures from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) show, which is the highest since the Abortion Act was introduced almost 60 years ago and a rise of 17% on the 2021 figure.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/24/number-abortions-england-wales-record-levels

UK – Jury discharged in illegal abortion trial

May 20, 2024
Chloe Harcombe & PA Media, BBC News, Gloucestershire

The jury in the trial of a woman accused of arranging her own illegal abortion has been discharged for legal reasons.

Sophie Harvey, 25, was on trial at Gloucester Crown Court accused of procuring a poison, procuring her own miscarriage by poison and attempting to pervert the course of public justice.

Her partner Elliot Benham, 25, was also on trial accused of attempting to pervert the course of public justice.

Continued: https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/c4nnrj1zjvyo

British MPs are attacking abortion rights. We can’t follow the same path as the US

My own traumatic experience shows why we must push back against those who try to chip away at our freedom of choice
Hilary Freeman
Fri 17 May 2024

As the criminal justice bill stumbles through parliament this week – beset by delays and controversies, and picking up amendments as it goes – another woman, Sophie Harvey, is on trial for an alleged illegal abortion, after taking pills to end her pregnancy when she was past the 24-week legal threshold. She was just 19 at the time. She faces a sentence of up to life in prison.

Anyone who cares about women’s rights should be alarmed not just by this trial, but by two new amendments to the bill put forward, targeting abortion in England and Wales. The first, from Caroline Ansell, a Conservative MP, aims to reduce the abortion limit to 22 weeks. The other, tabled by Liam Fox, another Conservative, would stop women’s choice over whether to abort a pregnancy where Down’s syndrome looks likely, up to birth. Currently, she can choose to do so for the entirety of her pregnancy, under ground E of the Abortion Act, which allows for termination if there is “substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped”.