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14 January 2011

AR update, 14 January 2011

BPAS takes legal action on early abortion at home: commentary by Ann Furedi; new study of US abortion trends; contraceptive implant failure; and more ...

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- 1. LET’S MAKE IT EASIER TO TAKE THE ABORTION PILL

Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS, writes:

‘On Friday 28 January, the High Court in London will hear a challenge to the way that early medical abortion is provided. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a non-profit-making charity that works in partnership with the National Health Service, is hoping to obtain a ruling that will make it easier for women to use the abortion pill.

‘At issue is a clash between the phrasing of the Abortion Act and the way that medical practice has advanced since the Act became law in 1968. The Act (S1(3)) specifies that ‘any treatment for the termination of pregnancy’ must be carried out in a hospital or clinic. The Department of Health insists that this means not only that the pills must be prescribed and given to the woman while she is in clinic premises, but that she must physically take them on-site.

‘In other countries, such as the US, France and Sweden, women are given the misoprostol tablets – ready to take at home when the time is right – on their first visit. This means they are saved the unnecessary cost and inconvenience of a second clinic visit and, crucially, they are spared the anxiety of worrying that they will start to cramp and bleed on the way home.

‘Those of us who provide abortion services know we must comply with the law. But, within that, services should be shaped by best clinical practice. It is wrong to compromise women’s care through unnecessary restrictions imposed by officials who fear criticism from those who oppose abortion in principle. Where abortion is legal, it is our job to make sure women do not suffer unnecessary anxiety or discomfort…’

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- 2. UK: BPAS TAKES LEGAL ACTION ON EARLY ABORTION AT HOME

Read the press release and a selection of the media coverage.

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- 3. USA: NEW STUDY OF ABORTION TRENDS

The steady decline in the US abortion rate since 1981 appears to have stalled, new research by the Guttmacher Institute finds.

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- 4. UK: SMALL PROPORTION OF CONTRACEPTIVE IMPLANT FAILURE MAKES HEADLINES

The news that 584 women over 11 years have become pregnant while using Implanon sparked some consternation in the British media.

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- 5. USA: NEW BILLS PLANNED TO RESTRICT ABORTION CARE

Lawmakers in several US states plan offer bills that would affect reproductive health services, Medical News Today reports. 

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- 6. UK: DEVELOPMENTS IN NON-INVASIVE SCREENING TEST

A DNA blood test for Down’s syndrome could save nearly all pregnant women from invasive tests like amniocentesis, according to a study in the British Medical Journal.

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- 7. UK: FOREIGN AID STRATEGY HIGHLIGHTS ABORTION

The coalition government will put contraception and safe abortion at the heart of its efforts to help save women’s lives in poor countries, it said in December.

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