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Reforming Abortion Law

Now is the time to deliver on the promise of a modern abortion law fit for women in England and Wales.

One in three British women will have an abortion in their lifetime. Despite this, abortion law in England and Wales is the oldest healthcare law in existence at more than 50 years old.

Wellbeing of Women have backed a position statement led by The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and signed by over 30 health organisations, calling for the reform of abortion care in the UK.

Like nearly 90% of the country, we believe in a woman’s right to choose. No woman should be forced to continue a pregnancy against her will.

We believe no woman should ever face the threat of jail for seeking to end her own pregnancy. We believe abortion is healthcare that should be treated and regulated like any other medical procedure.

The position statement lays our principles and priorities for reform as summarised below.

Our principles for reform

  • Abortion law must be clear, accessible, and provide a reliable framework for women and healthcare professionals.
  • Abortion law in England and Wales should recognise developments in modern abortion law in Northern Ireland.
  • Abortion law must be grounded in the fundamental right of a woman to access abortion.
  • Abortion law must work in practice and on paper.
  • Abortion law must enable the development of women’s healthcare in line with medical and scientific advancements.

Our priorities for reform

  • Women must be removed from the criminal law for ending their own pregnancies.
  • Healthcare professionals must be able to provide abortion care without the threat of criminal sanctions which do not apply to any other healthcare procedure.
  • The requirement for two doctors’ signatures to authorise an abortion should be removed.
  • Women should be able to make their own decisions about accessing an abortion.
  • Women’s personal data should stay private as it does for all other medical treatment.
  • NHS-funded abortion care must be supported by adequate funding and resourcing.

Read the full position statement here: Reforming Abortion Law.