Abortion is Healthcare

Content warning: abortion


Free, safe, legal and local access to abortion for all people in Britain.


Abortion is healthcare and anyone needing an abortion should be met with compassion and dignity, not criminalisation. Yet contrary to popular belief, abortion is still a criminal offence in Britain due to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, an old Victorian law passed 50 years before women won the right to vote. The fact that an old criminal law still stands means that pregnancies can be policed – with devastating impacts.

Criminalising abortion stigmatises this form of healthcare and can cause significant harm to a person’s health and wellbeing. It can delay or prevent access to post abortion care, intensify shame and stigma, heighten barriers in access to legal care and create a chilling effect on medical professionals’ provision of information.

Sign the petition


How it began

In 2022, the overturning of Roe vs Wade in the United States sent shockwaves across the globe. It became clearer than ever that we can’t take our access to reproductive healthcare for granted. So Level Up responded by launching the Abortion is Healthcare campaign to decriminalise abortion in Britain.  

We already knew there were reproductive justice organisations and abortion service providers who have been doing brilliant work on this for decades. And we knew that we could support the movement by using our pop culture approach to campaigning. 

Level Up prioritises reframing the dominant narrative around the injustice that we’re working to dismantle. We do this to shift cultural attitudes on the issue that will set the stage for meaningful change. Culture change always precedes policy change. 

By reframing abortion as a healthcare issue, we started by shifting the narrative away from shame and stigma and towards abortion as an essential procedure that everyone needs safe access to.

The journey so far


After the Roe v Wade news broke on 24 June 2022, Level Up polled the public to find out what people knew about abortion access and law in Britain. We found that a third of women don’t know how to get an abortion. The polling was published in the Independent and the petition steadily gained traction. In August 2022, Protest Stencil hacked London bus stop ads in support of the Abortion is Healthcare campaign.


Fast-forward to June 2023, when Carla Foster is prosecuted for ending a pregnancy after ordering abortion pills online because she did not want any more children. She was sentenced to prison based on Britain’s archaic abortion laws, and the Level Up community responded by sending over 250 messages of solidarity. Two months later, Carla was released after persistent public outcry. Dame Victoria Sharp, the judge at the Court of Appeal, described it as a “very sad case” that “calls for compassion, not punishment”.

Level Up also responded by opening up space for people to share their anonymous abortion stories – as part of our strategy to move the conversation away from “debate” and towards compassion.


On 23 February, Level Up launched media guidelines for reporting on abortion in Britain, building on our strategy of reframing the dominant narrative. We developed them in collaboration with reproductive justice organisations, abortion service providers, activists, and journalists – and they’re inspired by the powerful work of Abortion Dream Team in Poland. The guidelines are backed by Britain’s biggest abortion service providers: BPAS and MSI Reproductive Choices. Stylist magazine covered their launch. Now, we’re calling for members of the Level Up community to call out bad reporting when they see it.

To hear more about the campaign and how you can support it, join our mailing list. You can also make a donation to support this ongoing work.