bpas is committed to protecting and extending women’s reproductive choices. Our Charter for Choice lays out our key demands to ensure that women are able to exercise choice and autonomy at every stage of their reproductive lives, from the contraception they use to how they give birth. We need to stand up for women’s right to make reproductive decisions for themselves by themselves – not in accordance with anyone else’s agenda. To support our campaigns to improve women’s choice and find out how you can get involved, please enter your details below.
Due to Victorian-era legislation, in 2015 a woman who intentionally causes her own miscarriage can go to prison. Doctors and nurses can be prosecuted for helping women even if they provide exemplary care. The time has come to take abortion out of the criminal law across the UK – including Northern Ireland – and regulate it like other women’s healthcare procedures.
Protect clinic access
We need buffer zones around pregnancy counselling and abortion clinics to ensure women can access advice and care in privacy and dignity, free from interference and intimidation by anti-abortion extremists.
Offer choice in childbirth, abortion and miscarriage care
Women undergoing an abortion or experiencing a missed or incomplete miscarriage should be offered a choice of management including surgical or medical procedures. Women’s choices in childbirth – whether that is to deliver at home or in a hospital setting – should be respected. Women should not be stigmatised for their choices and should not be put under pressure to follow any particular agenda.
Put emergency contraception on the shelves
Let’s ditch the stigma and cut the price of emergency hormonal contraception. It should be available on the shelves at a price women can afford. There is no clinical need for it to be kept behind the counter, or for women to need to explain themselves to a pharmacist, and no financial justification for the £26-£30 price tag currently charged for the most widely available brand, Levonelle.
Train tomorrow’s abortion doctors
We need a commitment to training tomorrow’s doctors to deliver high quality, sensitive abortion care from NHS settings. There is poor access to abortion for women with complex medical conditions who need hospital-based care, with some being forced to continue life-threatening pregnancies.
Provide evidence-based information on pregnancy
Let’s trust women to make their own decisions. Women should have access to impartial, evidence-based information on issues from age-related fertility changes to alcohol use in pregnancy and infant feeding. Risks and benefits should never be overstated to pressurise women into making what are deemed the ‘right’ choices.
Deliver better care for pregnancy sickness
Too many women are having to end otherwise wanted pregnancies because their severe pregnancy sickness has not been properly treated, often because of misplaced fears over the impact of medication on the foetus. Safe medication is available. Women’s experience of sickness must be taken seriously, and medication offered at the earliest possible point to stop symptoms worsening.
Ensure equitable access to fertility treatment
Around 1 in 7 couples may have difficulty conceiving. There should be equal access to a comprehensive range of NHS treatments for infertility, including the ability to access up to three full cycles of IVF.
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