Did you know abortion is illegal in England, Scotland and Wales?
Contrary to popular belief, abortion is still a criminal offence in the UK due to an old Victorian law passed fifty years before women won the right to vote.
According to the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act, anyone who ends a pregnancy without permission from two doctors can face up to life in prison.
Abortion is healthcare. It’s time the law treats it as such. We should all have our healthcare needs met safely, including abortion.
It’s a basic ask. Abortion is available on request in 22 European countries – including France, Greece and Iceland. 85% of the UK public already believe women should have the right to abortion – it’s time to decriminalise it.
JOIN US if you agree that abortion should be removed from criminal law in England, Scotland and Wales.
Why is this important?
The fact that an old criminal law still stands means that pregnancies can be policed – with devastating impacts.
In 2021, a 15-year-old girl who had an unexplained early stillbirth was subjected to a year-long criminal investigation that involved having her phone and laptop searched.
In another case in 2022, a woman was kept in a prison cell for 36 hours after having a stillbirth – because of suspicions she’d had an abortion after the legal cutoff point.
Even if the worst doesn't happen, toxic stress during a mother's pregnancy affects her baby's development. Do you believe women suffering miscarriages and stillbirths should be locked in prison cells and interrogated?
The body doesn't know the difference between miscarriage and abortion – neither should the law.
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.
Most European countries have abortion on request. This means that if you want an abortion, nobody (not even a doctor) can stand in your way. This means the ultimate decision on whether to continue or end a pregnancy belongs to the pregnant person alone.
Abortion is healthcare. It’s time for the U.K. to decriminalise it.