18 July 2023
Following the decision of the Court of Appeal to release a woman sentenced to prison for ending her own pregnancy, Clare Murphy, Chief Executive of BPAS, said:
"We echo the judges’ statements that this is a case that calls for compassion, not punishment, and are delighted with the decision to release Carla Foster from prison.
"The Court of Appeal has recognised that this cruel, antiquated law does not reflect the values of society today. Now is the time to reform abortion law so that no more women are unjustly criminalised for taking desperate actions at a desperate time in their lives.
"We urge Parliament to take action and decriminalise abortion as a matter of urgency so that no more women have to endure the threat of prosecution and imprisonment."
For further information, please contact Katherine O’Brien, BPAS Associate Director of Campaigns and Communications, on katherine.o’firstname.lastname@example.org or 07881 265276.
Notes to editors
Carla Foster appeared in the Court of Appeal today (18th July 2023) to appeal the sentence handed down on 12th June for illegally ending her own pregnancy contrary to s58 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The offence was committed in May 2020 in the first lockdown, and the court accepted that Ms Foster had misled BPAS regarding her gestation in order to obtain abortion medication.
She was originally sentenced to 28 months, with an expectation that she would serve half of that term in custody. Today, three judges at the Court of Appeal said that the case deserved 'compassion not punishment' and reduced her sentence to 14 months suspended, meaning that she will be released from prison.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, BPAS, is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain.
BPAS exists to further women’s reproductive choices. We believe all women should have the right to make their own decisions in and around pregnancy, from the contraception they use to avoid pregnancy right the way through to how they decide to feed their newborn baby, with access to evidence-based information to underpin their choices and high-quality services and support to exercise them.
BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, CRRC. Through rigorous multidisciplinary research and impactful communication, the CRRC aims to inform policy, practice, and public discourse. You can find out more here.