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Bpas comment on new late abortion research

A new study conducted at Glasgow University has explored the circumstances that lead to women seeking late abortions. The researchers interviewed women who had abortions between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy to find out about their experiences.

A bpas spokesperson said,

“Women present for later abortions for a diverse range of reasons, but as this study confirms a delay in identifying a pregnancy is a significant factor.  This is often because they are using a form of contraception which changes bleeding patterns and so they do not experience regular periods, they may be very young women who have taken time to disclose their pregnancy, and also older women who believed that they were undergoing the early stages of menopause.

“Later abortion is a specialist service. There will be a relatively small number of requests for later abortions in Scotland and consequently local doctors would not be performing these procedures with the frequency needed to ensure they are appropriately skilled. We believe that the solution to this ongoing problem is the establishment of a specialist centre in Scotland, which could provide treatment specifically for women at later gestations.

“Scotland was the pioneer of early medical abortion treatment. Now that abortion is a devolved issue, there are a number of ways the Scottish government could improve the provision of abortion care for women at all gestations. Even within the constraints of the 1967 Abortion Act, the government now has the power to allow the home-use of early abortion medication, which women experiencing a spontaneous miscarriage are already permitted to do, as well as permitting the development of nurse and midwife led services.

“While bpas and other providers will offer the best care possible in England, we know that this comes at a huge personal cost to Scottish women. They have to travel hundreds of miles from home, and as a result often are unable to bring a partner or friend with them on the day for emotional support. This makes difficult day that much more difficult. We hope that studies like this will be the catalyst for the change needed to ensure that women in Scotland are able to access high-standard abortion care as close to home as possible.”

You can read more in the Glasgow Sunday Herald here.


For more information please contact the bpas press office on 0207 061 3377 or email press@bpas.org

Notes to Editors:

About bpas

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