Early abortion – should there be a change in the law?

The British Preganancy Advisory Service [BPAS] is challenging current abortion laws to allow women seeking early medical abortions to be allowed to choose where they complete their treatment.

Currently women who are less than 9 weeks pregant can take two sets of pills to induce a miscarriage.

Though there is no medical need, the pills must be taken in a hospital or clinic, which makes it more difficult for a woman to control where she has a miscarriage.

Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS said:

“This is about making it as easy as possible for women who are entitled to an abortion to have that abortion, it does not make it easier for women to obtain an abortion.”

86% of women would prefer to medically induce miscarriages in the comfort and security of their own homes.

In what way is it logical for authorities to make legal abortions more uncomfortable than they need to be?

Yet there has been an outcry from Pro-Life and conservative commentators.

Nadine Dorries, Conservative MP, said any change in the law will send out the message that abortion can be used as a contraceptive, while the charity Life said:

“BPAS’s intention is to increase access to abortion yet further, by making it little more than a pill-popping exercise”

But does making the process easier really mean women will suddenly cease to care about the act itself?

Current abortion law under the Abortion Act of 1967 only allows women to end their pregnancies if she is at risk from suffering “grave permanant injury” to herself, her existing children or if the child would be severely handicapped.

In all other instances, abortion is technically prohibited.

For an abortion to be legal, the women must suffer.  By the logic of the 1967 Act abortion should be difficult, uncomfortable and punish the offending woman.

If it does not do this, the fear is that the life of unborn babies will cease to matter at all, that women will sink to new depths of promiscuity and motherhood will lose its revered status in modern society.

Should this conservative scaremongering really continue to influence abortion law?


About Rachel Conner

Rachel Conner is currently a postgraduate newspaper journalism student at Cardiff University. She graduated in 2010 from the University of Durham with an LLB. View all posts by Rachel Conner

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