The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) welcomes the findings of The Morning After: A Cross-Party Inquiry Into Unplanned Pregnancy. Bpas is particularly pleased that the report emphasises the needs of older women and their partners who are trying to avoid unplanned pregnancy in addition to recommendations to support younger women and men.
The abortion rate in this country remains stable, having risen by just 2.3% in the last decade. Repeat abortion rates have risen slightly, but as the report notes they remain comparable with France and Sweden and significantly lower than the US. While bpas believes unplanned pregnancy is a fact of life, we welcome all efforts to reduce the number of women who find themselves experiencing unplanned pregnancy.
We support all the recommendations in the report including the following:
PCTs should ensure that older women are able to access the kind of services currently available to the under-25s, with consideration given to making contraceptive services available in the work place.
Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCS) to be made available to all women, while recognising that not all women will find them suited to their needs and lifestyles
Postnatal contraception advice and services to be a standard part of follow up care after delivery
Steps to be taken to improve understanding and availability of vasectomy as a safe and reliable form of male contraception and efforts to avoid cuts in funding in this area.
Ann Furedi, bpas chief executive, said:
"It is heartening to see how this inquiry has sought to understand both the practicalities of access to contraception and the realities of women's lives. The postponement of motherhood as women seek to achieve educational and professional fulfilment does mean that more women will be exposed to unwanted pregnancy during the course of their twenties, and services need to reflect that social and cultural shift.
"We would also be pleased to see more support for women in the postnatal period, as we have seen increasing numbers of women experiencing unplanned pregnancy not long after giving birth. And we welcome the focus on including men, both through improving sex education for younger men and ensuring men who wish to can access NHS-funded vasectomy services after they have completed their families.
“We very much hope that this inquiry represents a shift towards tackling the issue of unplanned pregnancy as opposed to the problematisation and politicisation of abortion in the recent past, and is used to inform public policy discussion on how women and their partners can best be supported to avoid unplanned pregnancy in the first place.”
For more information please contact the bpas press office on 0207 612 0206 or 07788 725185