British Pregnancy Advisory Service logo

10 June 2013

June digest: An open letter on the importance of reproductive choice

This month's top stories on Reproductive Review.

- 1. AN OPEN LETTER ON THE IMPORTANCE OF REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE

Furedi writes, on RH Reality Check:

‘I want to thank Jodi Magee for her response article on how Physicians for Reproductive Health continues to “absolutely support the right to choose,” despite having dropped the word “choice” from its name. In the United Kingdom, we are the poorer because no organization quite like hers exists.

‘For us, reproductive health is now pretty mainstream. Our Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) has a faculty dedicated to it. But we have no mainstream, national organization with professional clout and profile that stands up for a woman’s right to choose. Perhaps here in the UK, some of us feel the importance of reproductive choice because none of us have ever known it. Regardless of our wealth, education, or standing, none of us can have a legal abortion in Britain because we decide, personally and for ourselves, that it is right.

‘British abortion law and practice has never acknowledged women’s reproductive choice. Our legislation was drafted in the 1960s to create conditions under which abortion could be delivered safely and regulated closely for the public good—that it should be a right for women was not even discussed. Our parliament, courts, and medical professionals have never accepted that women have the capacity to decide about abortion for themselves at any stage in pregnancy. Instead the law offers a legal defense for a doctor who decides an abortion is best for a woman’s health…’

- 2. COMMENT: TREATING WOMEN LIKE INCUBATORS

A conference of medical professionals held at the Royal Society of Medicine next week will discuss the way that advice and anxieties about pregnancy have been fuelled in recent years by a culture of fetal ‘imaging and imagining’, where the ability to see the fetus in the womb has contributed to a set of ideas about the fetus, and the pregnant woman, that are both inaccurate and insulting, writes Jennie Bristow in the Independent.

- 3. EVENT: ABORTION, MOTHERHOOD AND THE MEDICAL PROFESSION

This conference, organised jointly by British Pregnancy Advisory Service and the Royal Society of Medicine, takes place on Wednesday 12 June 2013 at the Royal Society Of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, LONDON, W1G 0AE. View the programme here.

- 4. DR HENRY MORGENTALER REMEMBERED

Dr Morgentaler, who led the abortion movement in Canada, has died at the age of 90, more than four decades after breaking the law at the time and opening the country’s first abortion clinic in Montreal.

- 5. ‘AFTER TILLER’ - FILM COMES TO THE UK

In 2009, Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, was murdered at his church in Wichita Kansas.  The film, ‘After Tiller’,  captures the stories of women who need later abortions and the handful of doctors who openly provide this care, and has received excellent reviews. 

‘After Tiller’ will make its European debut in the UK as part of the Sheffield Doc/Fest on 14 and 15 June, and will be screened at London’s Barbican on 6 July, followed by a a ScreenTalk with Manuelle Hurwitz of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Patricia Lohr of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

- 6. US: KERMIT GOSNELL FOUND GUILTY OF THREE MURDERS

A Philadelphia doctor has been convicted of the first-degree murders of three babies delivered and killed with scissors in late-term abortions, BBC News Online reports.

- 7. USA: BILL TO BAN ALL ABORTIONS AFTER 20 WEEKS

House Republicans have voted to extend a bill that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia to apply in every state in the nation, the UK Guardian reports.

- 8. IRELAND: GOVERNMENT PUBLISHES DRAFT LEGISLATION

A controversial abortion bill in the Republic of Ireland does not amount to a change in the law, the Irish prime minister has said.

- 9. EVENT - ABORTION IN IRELAND: WHAT THE LAW MEANS FOR WOMEN AND PRO-CHOICE CAMPAIGNERS

Abortion is back at the top of the political agenda in Ireland. Following the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar last October, the Irish Government has been forced to produce abortion legislation - but only for cases in which the woman’s life is at risk. In Northern Ireland abortion is only allowed in exceptional circumstances and nearly all women who need an abortion are denied it.

This free public meeting, organised by Voice for Choice, will hear from experts working with Irish women and fighting for their right to choose. We will hear about the current legal situation, the impact this has on Irish women, prospects for change - and how pro-choice campaigners can get involved. The meeting will be followed by a wine reception.

Speakers and chair:

- Stephanie Lord, Choice Ireland
- Dr Audrey Simpson, Director of FPA in Northern Ireland
- Darinka Aleksic, Abortion Rights

When and where:

Thursday 20 June 2013 6:30pm - 8:30pm

Medical Society of London, 11 Chandos St, London W1G 9DP.

- 10. EL SALVADOR: BEATRIZ CASE ENDS WITH C-SECTION

A seriously ill woman, whose fetus was diagnosed with ancephaly and who was denied an abortion by the Supreme Court, has undergone a premature Caesarean section.

- 11. UK: WOMAN DIES FROM ‘DIY ABORTION’ ATTEMPT

A pregnant woman died after drinking concentrated vinegar during an attempt to self-induce an abortion, Manchester Evening News reports.

- 12. UK: WOMAN WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER CAN MAKE ABORTION DECISION, JUDGE RULES

Following a two-day Court of Protection hearing in London, a High Court judge has decided that a woman detained under mental health legislation is capable of making a decision about terminating her 23-week pregnancy.

- 13. UK: RCOG UNDER FIRE FOR ‘ALARMIST’ PREGNANCY ADVICE

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has been criticised for saying pregnant women may want to ‘play it safe’ and avoid chemicals found in many common household products.

- 14. UK: ANGER AT PROPOSALS TO TEST PREGNANT WOMEN FOR SMOKING

Mothers and midwives have reacted against guidelines that will pressure all pregnant women to take breath tests to check if they have told the truth about smoking.

- 15. STOP MESSING WITH MOTHERS-TO-BE

The mountain of scary ‘advice’ facing pregnant women is built on risk inflation and utterly junk science, writes Ellie Lee on spiked.

- 16. SCOTLAND: ABORTION STATISTICS PUBLISHED

The number of and rate of terminations has continued to fall for the past four years.

tweet