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bpas Pills in Practice conference

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) will host the Pills in Practice conference on Friday 11th May, 2012, at the Royal Society of Medicine, London. The conference aims to explore the gap between public policy on contraception and abortion and the reality of women’s lives and needs in the 21st Century.

Sessions include:

Why don’t more women love LARCs?

Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives, such as the coil and implant, have in recent years been held up as the silver bullet against unwanted pregnancy. Yet despite widespread promotion they have so far failed to impact upon abortion rates. bpas’own research suggests reasons for some women’s antipathy to LARCs include the reliance on medical professionals to both insert and remove them, and concerns about side-effects. However for women who do want a LARC there may also be issues with training and access, and particular barriers to obtaining IUDs as emergency contraception which provides ongoing protection.

Speakers include: James Trussell, Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University and visiting professor, the Hull York Medical School; Dawn Clark, Psychologist, the London Research Centre for Therapeutic Education; Kaye Wellings, Professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health Research at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Will the Pill survive a century?

A recent study has indicated the benefits of providing the Pill at pharmacies rather than requiring all women visit their GP for a prescription, but such schemes attract negative headlines. Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC) meanwhile remains an underutilised resource amid fears that encouraging women to avail themselves of the “morning after pill” may encourage unprotected sex. Suggestions that a Pill could be developed which women could use regularly at the time of sex have remained just that. Fifty years on from the birth of the Pill, how does the broader cultural climate affect developments in contraceptive methods, and women’s attitudes towards them?

Speakers include: Lara Marks, author, Sexual Chemistry: A history of the contraceptive pill; Christian Fiala MD, PhD, Medical Director, Gynmed Clinic for Contraception and Abortion, Vienna and Salzburg, Austria; Ann Furedi, Chief Executive, bpas.

Home abortions: choice of method, choice of place

Women can give birth at home and take the medication needed to pass a pregnancy after a missed miscarriage at home. However the current interpretation of the 1967 Abortion Act denies women the option of taking the very same medication at home to complete an abortion, meaning women must make multiple clinic visits sometimes over significant distances. The development of the abortion pill means that a greater proportion of abortions takes place in early pregnancy but the legal framework surrounding the use of early medical abortion drugs in Britain is at odds with research, clinical guidance, and established best practice in other developed countries. This session examines pioneering international research into the abortion pill, and discusses the political, cultural and legal barriers that can prevent its translation into practice.

Speakers include: Beverly Winikoff, President, Gynuity Health Project; Sam Rowlands LLM MD FRCGP FFSRH, Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust and University of Warwick; Raha Shojai MD MSc, North University Hospital of Marseille, France; Kinga Jelinska, project manager, Women on Web, the Netherlands; Kate Greasley, Dphil candidate in law, New College, Oxford.

‘Late’ abortions and fetal anomaly – towards a woman-centred service

What are the particular issues facing women seeking abortion for fetal anomaly, and how could Britain’s ‘late abortion’ service in general be developed and improved? What are the problems and opportunities involved in recruiting and training a new generation of abortion doctors?

Speakers include: Stephen Robson MB BS MRCOG MD, Professor of Fetal Medicine, Newcastle University; Helen Statham, Senior Research Associate, Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge; Kate Guthrie, Clinical Director, Hull and East Riding Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Partnership; Ellie Lee, Reader in Social Policy and Director, Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, University of Kent.

For more information call the bpas press office on 0207 6120206 or 07788 725185.