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 – 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.


UK – Teesside woman cleared over lockdown abortion charges after CPS offers no evidence

The prosecution case against Bethany Cox, 22, relied on 1861 law condemned as cruel and outdated by campaigners

Mark Brown, North of England correspondent
Tue 9 Jan 2024

Prosecutors have offered no evidence against a woman accused of using drugs to bring about an illegal abortion as the first UK coronavirus lockdown ended.

Bethany Cox, 22, was on Tuesday formally found not guilty of charges that had been brought under a Victorian law condemned as cruel and outdated by campaigners – the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act.

Nicholas Lumley KC, the barrister representing Cox, said it was “an extraordinary state of affairs”. He said his client had been interviewed by police in the “throes of grief” and had been investigated for three years.


UK – ‘Deeply sinister’: Police testing women who have miscarriages for abortion drugs

Maya Oppenheim, Women’s Correspondent
Nov 2, 2023

Police are testing “distressed” women who have suffered miscarriages for abortion drugs, healthcare providers have warned. Medical professionals argue it is “deeply sinister” to test women who have endured a miscarriage who are suspected of illegal abortions for the drugs – arguing it adds to the guilt and stigma women routinely experience after pregnancy loss.

In one document, seen by The Independent, a bodily fluid sample was sent to a forensics lab to be analysed for a range of drugs – including the abortion drugs mifepristone and misoprostol. Another reveals a woman who agreed to allow police to have access to samples of her bodily fluids taken by NHS staff.


UK – Fury at year-long Home Office delay over protest buffer zones at UK abortion clinics

Suella Braverman accused by MP Stella Creasy of denying will of parliament in passing safe access law

Sian Norris
Sat 21 Oct 2023

Pro-choice MPs and activists have expressed their frustration at the government’s failure to implement a law on buffer zones around abortion clinics one year after 297 MPs voted in favour of the zones and as women face a new wave of protests when accessing reproductive care.

A Home Office spokesperson told the Observer that timelines would be confirmed “in due course” but refused to explain why the law was not yet in force and failed to confirm if a consultation on safe-access zones legislation had been launched.


UK – Women still being harassed at abortion clinics despite buffer zone law

'Safe access zones’ entered law in England and Wales in May but Home Office has delayed implementing them

Denis Campbell
Wed 18 Oct 2023

Women using abortion clinics are still being harassed despite MPs voting a year ago to create buffer zones to stop protesters intimidating them, medical and abortion groups say.

Suella Braverman, the home secretary, has failed to “commence” the legislation to introduce buffer zones in England and Wales, even though parliament approved the move on 18 October last year.


‘I had to go to England for my abortion because Scotland told me no’

Since 2019, almost 300 women have travelled to England to receive healthcare they were unable to access in Scotland.

Hannah Brown
July 21, 2023

The number of women travelling from Scotland to England to receive later abortion care has increased by 55% in the past year, new figures show.

In 2021, the number of women travelling to England was 42 but in 2022, new figures from the British Pregnancy Advice Service (BPAS), seen exclusively by STV News, show this increased to 65.

Since 2019, 282 women have travelled from Scotland to England to attain the service.


Scotland – SNP leadership candidates urged to commit to abortion clinic buffer zones

Concerns that Scotland lagging behind rest of UK as anti-abortion protests continue outside clinics

Libby Brooks Scotland correspondent
Mon 13 Mar 2023

Pro-choice campaigners are urging all Scottish National party leadership candidates to commit to accelerating the imposition of protest-free buffer zones around abortion clinics, as healthcare professionals describe the “remorseless” impact of anti-choice activity on their working lives.

Amid growing concern that Scotland is trailing behind the rest of the UK, after safe access zones passed their final parliamentary hurdle in the Commons last week, there was a protest and counter-protest outside the Sandyford clinic in Glasgow at the weekend. The clinic offers a range of services including abortion, support for sexual assault victims and transgender healthcare.


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?


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.