More women investigated for illegal terminations, says abortion provider

An unprecedented number of women are being investigated by police on suspicion of illegally ending a pregnancy, the BBC has been told.

Feb 20, 2024
By Eleanor Layhe, Anna Meisel and Divya Talwar

Abortion provider MSI says it knows of up to 60 criminal inquiries in England and Wales since 2018, compared with almost zero before.

Some investigations followed natural pregnancy loss, File on 4 found.

Pregnancy loss is investigated only if credible evidence suggests a crime, the National Police Chiefs' Council says.


The Virgin Mary features heavily in anti-abortion activism – and many Catholics are worried

February 20, 2024

Sarah-Jane Page, Pam Lowe – The Conversation

If you’ve ever come across an anti-abortion protest, particularly outside of a clinic, you may have been struck by the use of the Virgin Mary. Images of Mary and other religious signs and symbols are frequently used in anti-abortion activism in Britain, as in other countries*.

At one level this is understandable because, as our research has shown, anti-abortion activists in the UK are overwhelmingly highly religious, with most aligned with conservative forms of Catholicism and a smaller number of evangelicals. Yet the use of these images also reveals important information about the activists’ motivations and understandings, such as ideas about the nature of women. And many Catholics are concerned about the way their religion is being portrayed.


UK – Female students ‘fear for their safety’ as anti-abortion society set up by three men

Over 15,000 people have signed a petition voicing concerns about the new society, which has been allowed to exist due to freedom of speech laws

Athena Stavrou
Feb 19, 2024

Female students at the University of Manchester say they are “fearing for their safety” after an all-male committee set up a pro-life society.

Over 15,000 people have signed a petition voicing concerns about the group, which has been allowed to form due to freedom of speech laws.


UK – ‘We’re running out of babies’: Childcare costs driving parents into debt and to abortion, study finds

Pregnant Then Screwed fears that childcare costs will put parents off having babies and the 'economy can't afford to pay that price'

 18 Feb 2024

Childcare costs are driving parents into debt and to abortion, new research has revealed.

Pregnant Then Screwed has found that more than half of mothers (52.5%) who have had an abortion believe that the cost of childcare was the primary reason for terminating their pregnancy.


Scotland – Abortion clinic buffer zone law needed ‘quickly’ – Gray

Feb 14, 2024

A law to ensure buffer zones around abortion clinics is needed "quickly", the health secretary has said.

Neil Gray described protests from anti abortion groups outside medical facilities as "unacceptable". Mr Gray was speaking at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow, one of several sites targeted by the 40 Days for Life pro-life group.


Creasy accuses anti-abortion activists of ‘persistent’ personal harassment

Exclusive: ‘Some of the commentary is all about me being held to account by a god, and having my day in hell,’ MP says

Maya Oppenheim
Feb 11, 2024

US-funded anti-abortion activists have begun a crusade of harassment against high-profile Labour campaigner Stella Creasy, targeting her in a “persistent and sustained” pattern, accusing her of “killing babies”.

Speaking to The Independent in an exclusive interview, Stella Creasy said she is facing “a bonfire of abuse” from anti-abortion ideologues on social media in punishment for campaigning on abortion rights.

The Labour MP for Walthamstow said protesters have harassed nearby residents and leafletted her constituency with graphic imagery.


British abortion law is a medieval nightmare

An increasing number of women are being prosecuted for procuring abortions and face the possibility of life imprisonment. Why are we being so polite about this outrage?

Zoe Williams
Tue 6 Feb 2024

When it emerged last year that six women had been prosecuted in Great Britain for procuring abortions, that was a little more than a blip: it was twice as many women, in a single year, as had been taken to court in the previous 160 years combined. Behind those cases, of course, there’s an unknown number of women who were investigated but cleared, so their phones were seized, they were prevented from contact with their children, they were questioned under caution with the possibility of life imprisonment when they’d just had a miscarriage. All these women lived, if not their worst, then surely their most medieval, nightmare, and some are living it as we speak.

The natural question was: what the hell was going on? Had the police lost their minds? (When the Guardian asked one force about its actions last year, it chose to lie about them, which surprised me.) Was the director of public prosecutions anti-abortion? (Max Hill KC declined to comment.) Had medics suffered some kind of group amnesia around patient confidentiality? (The police generally become involved only when they’re alerted by a doctor or midwife.) All that is still possible, but when I spoke to the campaign organisation Doctors for Choice, it exhibited the kind of pragmatism you look for in a doctor. Never mind the finger-pointing – change the law.


Scotland – Buffer zones required outside abortion clinics to stop women suffering

It is time for the Scottish Government to approve the legislation for legally enforced zones, says Record View.

5 Feb 2024

The legalisation of abortion in the UK in 1967 was a landmark moment.

It marked the culmination of decades of campaigning and allowed women to undergo the procedure through the NHS.

It ended the need for people to rely on unregulated and often dangerous private practitioners.


Carmarthen preacher Stephen Green fined for abortion clinic protest

1st February 2024
By James McCarthy & PA Media, BBC News

A preacher who protested outside an abortion clinic has been convicted of breaching a protection order.

Stephen Green, 72, held a sign bearing a religious verse in a part of Ealing, west London, covered by a public spaces protection order (PSPO) last February.

Outside the MSI Reproductive Choices Clinic, it was the first such zone to be introduced in the UK. Green's conviction was welcomed by campaigners who said people were fed-up of seeing behaviour like his.


UK – MPs fear watering down of buffer zone rules at abortion clinics

A Labour and Tory MP will later appeal to the home secretary to rethink guidance that will still allow "silent prayer" and protesters to approach vulnerable women.

Serena Barker-Singh
Thursday 1 February 2024

Cross-party MPs will meet with the home secretary today to query the government's plans allowing protesters to engage in "silent prayer" and approach women with leaflets inside buffer zones around abortion clinics.

Despite MPs voting over a year ago to ban these activities, draft guidance released by the Home Office now appears to water down the laws, campaigners have said.