A paper published today in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care argues that abortion care in the UK is “heading towards a crisis” and reform of the law is just one of the many obstacles that needs to be overcome.
Commenting on the study, a bpas spokesperson said:
"We really welcome this paper and agree with the conclusions it draws. The criminal law is simply no way to regulate an essential part of women's healthcare. The threat of prosecution that is unique to doctors providing abortion care at any gestation puts many off entering the field. On a regular basis in the UK today, a woman with an unwanted pregnancy is unable to find a doctor who is willing or able to treat her. These are often women with medical conditions who cannot be cared for in standalone community clinics but must be seen in NHS hospitals, where they struggle to find medics trained to provide abortion care, even though the continuation of the pregnancy poses a serious risk to her health.
"2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act. We look forward to making the case for abortion to be taken out of the criminal law and regulated in the same way as every other area of women's healthcare and treated as such. There is no clinical need for 2 doctors to authorise a woman's request for an abortion. It is a legal requirement unique to abortion which runs counter to principles of patient autonomy and choice, and can simply cause delay treatment for women who are sure of their decision. The earlier an abortion can be performed the safer it is. It is high time we trusted women to make the decisions that are right for them and their families."
For more information please contact the bpas press office on 0207 061 3377 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
The full paper, Reforming abortion services in the UK: less hypocrisy, more acknowledgment of complexity, is online here: http://jfprhc.bmj.com/content/43/1/3.full.pdf+html
bpas is a charity which sees more than 70,000 women a year and provides reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception, at clinics across the UK. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. More information can be found at bpas.org