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Is abortion provision in the UK under attack?

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Shanna McGoldrick
WVoN co-editor 

Medical professionals may be deterred from performing abortions in the light of hardline pro-life protests in the UK, according to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS).

It has expressed concern that the recent wave of anti-abortion activism will politicise abortion, making it difficult to attract doctors to the field.

In a statement, a BPAS spokesperson said:

“The current politicisation of abortion provision is likely to make it even harder to recruit a future generation of abortion doctors who are prepared to provide the care that a third of women will need in the course of their lifetimes.”

This concern was increased after the government ordered the review of 250 clinics in England which perform the procedure.

The unannounced inspections were ordered as a result of rumours of ‘misconduct’ in centres, including evidence of doctors allegedly pre-signing forms for patients.

The UK is currently witnessing an increase in anti-abortion protest, typified by the recent stand-off between pro-choice and pro-life activists outside a clinic in London on March 30.

The anti-abortion protest was spearheaded by the US-based organisation 40 Days For Life which has lead protests in several countries.

There is growing concern amongst British experts that increasingly extremist anti-abortion activism and the politicisation of abortion will lead to a decline in the number of providers, as in the US.

Although the number of abortion providers in the US has remained more or less stable since 2005, during a wave of anti-abortion violence in the 1990s the number of abortion providers plummeted from 2, 680 to 1,787 between 1985 and 2005.

  1. Tina Price-Johnson says:

    This is a very worrying development. Abortion is a medical procedure. It should NEVER become politicised. I note it is a US-based anti-choice movement behind the majority of protests. I accept, and understand, that people may not like or want abortions. In that case, I say they should personally not choose them. However, they have no right to remove the autonomy of a woman over her own body by removing the choice to access abortion from all women. It is one choice amongst several that women can make with regard to an unwanted pregnancy, or a pregnancy which may have serious health-implications in development (to differentiate between wanted pregnancy which may lead to the choice of abortion being necessary, and pregnancy that was unwanted from the moment of conception).

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