Charter for Choice

February 2019

Richmond Council introduces the UK’s second abortion clinic buffer zone

In good news, this week Richmond Council has become the second UK local authority to introduce an abortion clinic buffer zone. Our clinic in Richmond has had protesters outside on a daily basis since 2014, disturbing local residents and intimidating clients. We’re delighted that Richmond Council has taken this strong decision to stand up for the women and ensure they can access health services in private and free from intimidation.

Understanding risk – how do we know the right path?

Our WRISK project continues to examine how risks associated with pregnancy are communicated. This month’s guest blog is a brave personal account from Clare, who temporarily came off her antidepressants following advice from her doctor. She shares her own individual story of navigating simplistic, often conflicting medical advice, and eventually finding the right path for her.

Meanwhile a ‘myth-busting’ piece on hormonal contraception may have caused alarm by stating that the pill increases the risk of breast cancer by 38%. This is an example of when the relative risk of harm is presented, and the article failed to clarify that the increased absolute risk is still low. Statistics like this can cause undue concern or panic when they are not properly communicated.

Derry Girls join march for reform in Northern Ireland

28 women marched to Westminster with suitcases to demand change in Northern Ireland, representing the 28 women who are forced to travel from Northern Ireland every week to access abortion care. The 28 included four MPs and two members of the Derry Girls cast, Nicola Coughlan and Siobhan McSweeney. We were proud to join them to march and deliver a petition, organised by Amnesty International, which had over 62,000 signatures.

BBC finally agrees to signpost women to abortion information

The BBC has finally agreed to signpost women to NHS abortion information via its Action Line website, having initially refused to do so on the grounds it was too “contentious”. The issue arose following an episode of Call the Midwife in which a woman died following a backstreet abortion. After an overwhelming response from the public, an open letter from women’s healthcare bodies and a letter signed by nearly 100 MPs, the BBC changed its stance.

Champion of Choice

Our champion this month is the Royal College of GPs, which hasvoted to support the decriminalisation of abortion, joining the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare, and the British Medical Association.