ABORTION SUPPORT NETWORK – Expands support to women from Malta and Gibraltar

The Abortion Support Network (ASN), a UK-based charity providing financial assistance, practical information and accommodation to those living in countries with restrictive abortion laws, announced today that they have expanded their services to people resident in Malta and Gibraltar. Anyone in those countries will be able to ring the ASN helpline, visit their website or send an email and receive confidential, non-judgmental information about the least expensive way to arrange abortion, travel to England, Netherlands … Continued

ISLE OF MAN – First place in the British Isles to decriminalise abortion

The Abortion Reform Bill was passed in late 2018 with unanimous support of members of the House of Keys (the parliament) and has now received royal assent. The law allows abortion on request to 14 weeks and in certain circumstances at 15–23 weeks. From 24 weeks, it is permitted when pregnancy is a risk to the woman’s life or if the baby when born would suffer serious impairment or die shortly after birth. The law also obliges … Continued

GIBRALTAR – Government consultation on reform of the abortion law

Over the past few months, there has been a consultation by the government of Gibraltar, which is a British Overseas Territory, but is not covered by the abortion law of Great Britain. The reason for the consultation is that the judgment of the UK Supreme Court in regard to the abortion law of Northern Ireland will also affect Gibraltar, whose law is not compliant. The consultation document proposed a very narrow reform of the law. … Continued

DOWN SYNDROME – Testing times: Down Syndrome and the new abortion battleground

Since 2012, we have seen the widespread international implementation of cell-free DNA screening techniques for Down syndrome, commonly known as NIPT. It involves a simple maternal blood draw. This test is now well-established in the private sector, and public health systems are gradually adopting the procedure as a much more reliable way of assessing the chance that a fetus has Down syndrome.

ENGLAND – Women can use misoprostol at home… But national buffer zones rejected

Finally, women in England can use misoprostol at home The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that it will legalise the home use of misoprostol in England by the end of 2018 so that women are able to choose whether to use misoprostol at home rather than at a clinic. They will still have to take the mifepristone pills at the prescribing clinic first, however. The current, out-of-date system requires two visits to … Continued

ENGLAND / NORTHERN IRELAND / IRELAND – A formative evaluation of online information to support abortion access in England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

by DN Duffy, C Pierson, P Best BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health 4 September 2018   Web searches in mid-2016 using four search terms from the perspective of someone seeking abortion services found 619 web pages, 83 of which related to accessing services – 22 pages from Ireland, 31 from Northern Ireland, and 30 from England. Only 31 were judged good or excellent. The relevance of information retrieved varied. Almost half of all results in … Continued

UNITED KINGDOM –  Dramatic decline in teenage pregnancies in the UK

A new report, Social media, SRE and Sensible Drinking: Understanding the dramatic decline in teenage pregnancy, by Bpas, published in July 2018, examined key trends in teenage lifestyles and outlook, as well as young people’s experience of sex and relationships education (SRE) and use of contraception. It is based on qualitative and quantitative research conducted by YouGov and Bpas with four online focus groups and a demographically weighted survey of 1,004 16-18 year olds. The report’s … Continued

ISLE OF MAN – Legislative Council has approved the Abortion Reform Bill: hooray!!!

The Abortion Reform Bill was approved in full by the Legislative Council on 6 July 2018. There were 71 proposed amendments but efforts by the one Council member who was against the bill to add restrictions to the various clauses, a bishop, all failed. Numerous, mainly technical amendments were approved, as well as an amendment to ensure that fetal remains would continue to be treated with respect. The final vote was 8-1 in favour. The … Continued

GIBRALTAR – Gibraltar government will not consider abortion law reform but pro-choice group calls for referendum

Pro-choice campaigners hoped the Irish referendum result would put pressure on the Gibraltar government, but it seems it will not, at least in the short run. A government spokeswoman was quoted in the media as saying: “We have already dealt with progressive issues like civil partnerships and equal marriage… The Cabinet has not considered changing this [abortion] policy.” She added that they did not have a mandate to change the law as it was not … Continued

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