UK facing crisis point in abortion provision, experts say

Women said to be travelling hundreds of miles for appointments or waiting several weeks

Lucy Hough and Hannah Moore
Thu 26 Jan 2023

The UK is facing a “crisis point” in abortion provision, experts say, with rising demand and restricted access to care in many areas putting unprecedented pressure on struggling NHS services.

Healthcare professionals described a “terrifying” state of affairs in which women are travelling hundreds of miles for appointments or waiting several weeks before they are seen.


U.S. Anti-Abortion Activists Are Spreading Clinic Protests Around the World

The Texas-based group 40 Days for Life has brought its aggressive tactics to more than 1,000 cities in 65 countries.

Jessica Bateman
January 9, 2023

There were four or five protesters outside Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, the first time Dr. Greg Irwin saw them. He was driving to his job as a consultant radiologist when he noticed the group hoisting placards opposite the parking lot, close to the maternity unit. BEFORE I FORMED YOU IN THE WOMB I KNEW YOU, one sign read, alongside a Bible reference. “Oh, my God,” Irwin thought. “It’s one of those American protests.”

After he parked in his usual spot, an older woman holding rosary beads smiled as he approached. “We’re holding a prayer vigil,” she explained, adding that they were offering “support and advice” to women. Irwin noticed their placards were branded with the logo of 40 Days for Life. When he googled the name later that night, he expected to find a local church organization. Instead, he discovered the shiny, high-budget website of a Texas-based group, emblazoned with pictures of men in sharp suits with dazzling white teeth. A counter in the corner ticked down the numbers of babies “saved” worldwide. Scrolling, he saw a map festooned with red pins, marking group locations all over the world. Irwin stared at his screen, bewildered. How could there be a connection between a group in Texas and the woman outside his hospital in Scotland?


UK – Woman with Down’s syndrome loses abortion law appeal

Nov 25, 2022
By Hayley Clarke, BBC News

A woman with Down's syndrome has lost her appeal over a law that allows abortion up until birth for a foetus with the condition.

Heidi Crowter, 27, from Coventry said she was "angry that the judges say my feelings do not matter".

Judges at the Court of Appeal decided the Abortion Act did not interfere with the rights of the living disabled.


UK – Rishi Sunak accused of taking ‘anti-abortion stance’ by service providers

Exclusive: Key members of the new cabinet have consistently voted against abortion rights in England

Alexandra Topping
Fri 4 Nov 2022

All four holders of the “Great Offices of State” have failed to support a woman’s right to access safe abortions in England over the past seven years, the Guardian can reveal.

Abortion providers have warned that access to safe abortions is at risk and accused the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, of taking a “anti-abortion stance”, after the minister for women, Maria Caulfield, was given responsibility for abortion services as part of her second role as a health minister.


UK – Tory MP who backed cutting abortion time limit named minister for women

Labour and women’s rights groups criticise ‘deeply troubling’ appointment of Maria Caulfield

Jessica Murray
Sun 30 Oct 2022

Maria Caulfield, a Tory MP who supported cutting the abortion time limit and voted against buffer zones outside clinics, has been named as minister for women, prompting criticism from charities and women’s rights groups.

Caulfield, the MP for Lewes, was previously an officer of the all-party parliamentary “pro-life” group and voted against legalising abortion in Northern Ireland.


US-style anti-abortion protests come to Europe

With protests against abortion rights becoming increasingly aggressive, countries such as England, Wales and Spain are drawing up laws to protect people at clinics.

Ines Eisele
October 23, 2022

On January 20, 2023, hundreds of thousands of opponents of abortion rights are expected to gather in the US capital, Washington D.C., for the "March for Life." The march takes place annually on or around the anniversary of the January 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade decision, which had protected abortion rights in the United States until this June, when the US Supreme Court overturned the decision. Several states have since further restricted abortion.

Though the march is the biggest and most famous anti-abortion event, there are many such rallies in the United States and around the world. Many organizations that were founded to oppose abortion rights in the United States now have branches abroad. One of the biggest organizations in the world for opponents of reproductive rights is 40 Days for Life, a Christian organization that campaigns against abortion in dozens of countries.


UK – MPs back abortion clinic buffer zone law

Oct 18, 2022

Plans to enforce buffer zones around abortion clinics in England and Wales have been backed by MPs.

Under the proposed law, harassing, obstructing or interfering with any woman attending an abortion clinic would become a criminal offence.

Protesters found guilty of breaching 150-metre buffer zones around clinics would face up to six months in jail.


After Dobbs, U.S. medical students head abroad for abortion training no longer provided by their schools

By Olivia Goldhill
Oct. 18, 2022

A fourth-year medical student, Tema, faced an abrupt interruption to her education earlier this year. A state law banning abortion after six weeks went into effect hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and two days later, the clinic where her school provided first-hand abortion experience shut down.

“I’d do my patients a great disservice if I’m not trained in abortion,” said Tema, who is planning to become a family planning doctor, and asked that she be identified only by her first name for fear of repercussions by her medical school. “I’m going into a career where I care about reproductive health, I need to understand all aspects of it.” Without help from the school, Tema had to find an alternative herself, and will travel abroad next month to observe abortions being performed in a clinic in London.


Therese Coffey’s views on abortion concerning, charity says

By Ione Wells,  Political correspondent
Sept 7, 2022

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service has called the new health secretary's record on abortion rights "deeply concerning"

Therese Coffey, appointed by new PM Liz Truss, has previously voted against extending access to abortion care.

Abortion charities have accused Ms Coffey of putting her personal beliefs "above expert clinical guidance".


Think abortion is legal in Great Britain? Ask the two women currently facing life sentences

The overturning of Roe v Wade is horrific, but vulnerable women are being imprisoned for ending pregnancies right now in Britain. It’s time to legalise abortion

Charlotte Proudman
Fri 19 Aug 2022

Like many people in Britain, you probably watched with horror the US supreme court’s reversal of Roe v Wade, thinking, “Thank goodness women could never be prosecuted for having an abortion here.” But let me tell you, it already happens here.

Two women are currently awaiting criminal trial in England for abortion-related offences, both facing charges that carry a maximum sentence of life. At least 17 women have been investigated by police over the past eight years for having had abortions.