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Call to abolish 'relic' of 1967 Abortion Act

Law a 'relic' that badly needs to be replaced
Abortion

British abortion law has been dismissed as Victorian and widely out of step by nurses calling for the procedure to be decriminalised.

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They say failure to review the 1967 Abortion Act means women often turn to dangerous alternatives such as pills available online which risk their health and lives.

Womens Health Forum steering group member Amanda Myers made the claims while proposing a debate at RCN congress in Glasgow today (20 June).

Risk of prison

She was backed by a host of fellow nurses who shared their own stories of struggling to provide women with the care they want due to the limits of the law.

It states that two doctors must agree a woman meets the grounds of the act before she can legally access abortion treatments.

Failure to secure this agreement risks a lifetime prison sentence under the Offences Against

British abortion law has been dismissed as ‘Victorian’ and ‘widely out of step’ by nurses calling for the procedure to be decriminalised.

British abortion law has been dismissed as ‘Victorian’ and ‘widely out of step’ by nurses calling for the procedure to be decriminalised.
iStockphoto

They say failure to review the 1967 Abortion Act means women often turn to dangerous alternatives such as pills available online which risk their health and lives.

Women’s Health Forum steering group member Amanda Myers made the claims while proposing a debate at RCN congress in Glasgow today (20 June).

Risk of prison

She was backed by a host of fellow nurses who shared their own stories of struggling to provide women with the care they want due to the limits of the law.

It states that two doctors must agree a woman meets the grounds of the act before she can legally access abortion treatments.

Failure to secure this agreement risks a lifetime prison sentence under the Offences Against the Person Act.

Ms Myers said: ‘This legislation is truly a relic.

‘It prevents nurses and midwives from caring for women to the full extent of their abilities.'

She provided evidence from Canada and Australia – both of which have no law on abortion – claiming neither country had experienced an increase in abortions or a significant change in the gestation period in which they are carried out.

She added: ‘What purpose does this act serve other than to stigmatise women?’

'We need a good law, not a fast one'

Nurse Judith Ross spoke in support of the proposal and said: ‘This is a very emotive subject and to get a change in the law has to take time.

‘We need to pass a really good law, not a fast-working law.’

In England and Wales in 2014, 184,571 abortions were carried out, 98% of which were paid for by the NHS and 92% under 13 weeks' gestation.

Last month Royal College of Midwives chief executive Cathy Warwick said the college favoured removing abortion from criminal law.

Further information:

RCN congress debate on abortion

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