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".


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.


On abortion culture wars, Britain takes a different path

As the U.S. grapples with abortion limits, British lawmakers propose scrapping all legal penalties.

APRIL 8, 2024

LONDON — England’s abortion laws could be headed for an overhaul. Brits probably won’t be taking to the streets.

As the United States continues to grapple with the divisive fallout of the 2022 Supreme Court ruling which overturned Roe v. Wade and so ended the federal right to abortion, British lawmakers are gearing up to have their own debate on the hot-button issue.


UK – MPs propose decriminalising abortion up to 24 weeks

Amendment tabled by cross-party group including Stella Creasy is latest plan to modernise abortion law in England and Wales

Eleni Courea, Political correspondent
Mon 8 Apr 2024

A cross-party group of MPs is proposing to make abortion access a human right in England and Wales, putting forward legislation that would decriminalise abortion up to 24 weeks and introduce protections against access being stripped back.

Proposals to modernise abortion law have been made in the form of amendments to the government’s criminal justice bill, which is due to be debated after parliament returns from its Easter recess later this month. The Commons speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, will choose which ones are voted on. MPs are expected to be given a free vote.


‘Extreme’ US anti-abortion group ramps up lobbying in Westminster

The UK branch of the Alliance Defending Freedom has increased its spending and is forging ties with key MPs

Shanti Das, Home affairs correspondent
Sat 6 Apr 2024

A rightwing Christian lobby group that wants abortion to be banned has forged ties with an adviser to the prime minister and is drawing up ­policy briefings for politicians.

The UK branch of the US-based Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has more than doubled its spending since 2020 and been appointed a stakeholder in a parliamentary group on religious freedoms in a role that grants it direct access to MPs.


UK – Senior Labour figures seeking to water down plans to decriminalise abortion

MPs due to have free vote on proposal but some in party have privately expressed concerns it goes too far

Eleni Courea Political correspondent
Sat 23 Mar 2024

Senior Labour figures want to water down proposed legislation to decriminalise abortion in England and Wales ahead of a historic Commons debate on the issue.

Later this spring, MPs are due to have a free vote on a proposal by the Labour MP Diana Johnson to abolish the criminal offence associated with a woman ending her own pregnancy.


UK – Rishi Sunak declines to back MP’s Down’s syndrome abortion law change

March 20, 2024
By Chas Geiger

A call for the government to back a move to outlaw the abortion after 24 weeks of foetuses diagnosed with Down's syndrome has been rejected. Currently, pregnancies involving foetuses with Down's syndrome can be terminated up to the point of birth.

Conservative MP Sir Liam Fox is leading a cross-party campaign to bring the time limit into line with foetuses without serious disabilities. Rishi Sunak said votes on abortion had always been a "matter of conscience".


As France makes abortion a constitutional right, UK women see sharp rise in abortion convictions

A law dating from 1861 is being used to prosecute women in England and Wales, in at least one case leading to incarceration.

March 4, 2024

France has become the only country in the world to protect the right to terminate a pregnancy in its constitution after abortion access was officially added to the freedoms guaranteed in the French constitution on Monday. The move was a direct reaction to the rollback of abortion rights in the United States and elsewhere.

But across the English Channel, women are still at risk of prosecution for having the procedure because abortion in the UK has not been decriminalised. Britain is facing a sharp rise in abortion convictions, with a law dating from 1861 being used to prosecute women and in at least one case leading to incarceration.  


UK – Health chiefs voice fears over MP’s move to cut abortion limit

Exclusive: President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said they are against any reduction in abortion time limits

Maya Oppenheim, Women’s Correspondent
March 3, 2024

Fears have been raised that proposals to reduce the abortion deadline by two weeks could inflict cruelty on vulnerable women and actually increase the number of pregnancy terminations.

The warnings come after Tory MP Caroline Ansell proposed an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill to decrease the legal limit to have an abortion from the current deadline of 24 weeks to 22 weeks – with MPs set to vote on the proposals in due course.


Northern Ireland’s Abortion Law: An Outdated Norm or a Necessary Protection?

Mason Walker
 24 Feb 2024

The Conviction of a 21-year-old Woman
In a tragic turn of events, a 21-year-old woman in Northern Ireland has been convicted for terminating her pregnancy using abortion pills. This conviction makes her the first person to be convicted for illegal abortion in at least a decade. The woman pleaded guilty to 'unlawful procurement of miscarriage' under the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861 and was sentenced to a three-month jail term, suspended for two years.

The Desperate Dilemma of Unwanted Pregnancies

This case brings to the forefront the desperate dilemma faced by women with unwanted pregnancies in Northern Ireland. Legal abortion is limited, forcing many women to resort to dangerous methods such as drinking bleach or throwing themselves down stairs. It is also common for women to travel all the way to England for a termination.