After Roe: Recognising the importance of reproductive rights in England and Wales

Following the US Supreme Court’s controversial reversal of Roe v Wade, aspiring barrister Jade Rae explains the importance of the Abortion Act 1967 in England and Wales

By Jade Rae
Jul 18 2022

The US Supreme Court has just overturned the decision of Roe v Wade, a landmark case regarding abortion rights from over 50 years ago, completely destroying the reproductive rights of people with uteruses in America. With at least 26 States expected to ban abortion immediately, this terrifying reversal will have disastrous effects on the physical and mental health of people expected to carry a foetus. This naturally leads one to reflect on the law surrounding abortion in England and Wales and why it is one of the most important pieces of law to date.

First, without the Abortion Act 1967, abortion still remains a criminal offence. Under section 58 of the Offences Against a Person Act 1861, any woman with child who attempts to procure a miscarriage and any person who aids a woman in an attempt to procure a miscarriage will be guilty of felony and being convicted thereof shall be liable to be kept in penal servitude for life.