These are our Champions of Choice. They are people who have campaigned for or dedicated much of their working lives to supporting women’s reproductive choice. We celebrate their commitment and believe they are an inspiration to us all.
A passionate advocate for women’s right to abortion care, Erika has been at the forefront of the campaign for clinic buffer zones. Erika started a change.org petition in October 2014 after seeing video footage of a pregnant woman confronting anti-abortion protesters, which became an extraordinary success. The petition gained over 120,000 signatures in a matter of months and was critical in raising awareness of the issue with the general public. Erika presented the petition to 10 Downing Street with other members of the Back Off coalition in March 2015, and is continuing to fight the government’s inaction on this issue. Read Erika’s piece on why we need buffer zones to protect a women’s right to choose here.
Dr Patricia Lohr is the Medical Director of BPAS. She has made it part of her mission to encourage young doctors to work in abortion care. Patricia set up BPAS’ highly successful Reproductive Health Externship, which gives medical students insight into abortion provision and the women who need it, and has facilitated training for post-graduates unable to obtain sufficient clinical exposure to abortion care in their training programmes. Patricia is also on the Board of Medical Students for Choice whose mission is creating tomorrow’s abortion providers and pro-choice physicians.
Caitlin Dean is a registered Nurse and chair person for the charity Pregnancy Sickness Support. Caitlin suffered Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), severe pregnancy sickness, during her three pregnancies and campaigns tirelessly to improve care, raise awareness and tackle stigma around the condition. She is passionate about ensuring women have access to evidence based information and effective treatment for the condition, writes the popular Spewing Mummy blog, is the co-author of Hyperemesis Gravidarum – The Definitive Guide and has just released her children’s book How to be an HG Hero. Read Caitlin’s piece about the proper support women suffering from HG need here.
Sarah is a fertility awareness practitioner and a passionate believer that when it comes to reproductive healthcare it is your body, your choice. Sarah works to ensure that women are able to access all the relevant information they need to make informed choices about their method of contraception, and campaigns for women to receive individualised care that responds to their needs and beliefs, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to contraception. Her Be Fertility Aware blog is an important resource for many women and healthcare professionals interested in fertility and women’s health. Read Sarah’s piece on why fertility awareness should be a routine option here.
Susan is a strong believer that NHS fertility treatment should not depend on one’s postcode and campaigns hard for this change through her role as co-chair at Fertility Fairness. Her first hand experience of infertility and treatment makes her a passionate advocate for emotional support and counselling for everyone struggling to conceive. Her role as Chief Executive of the patient charity Infertility Network UK, the only national charity in the UK which supports anyone experiencing fertility issues, enables her to play a leading role in changing the conversation surrounding fertility issues and promote better understanding of the options available. Read Susan’s piece on the need for equitable access to NHS fertility treatments here.
Linda Geddes is an award-winning journalist and author of Bumpology which separates the myths from the science around pregnancy. Battling against the patronising policing of pregnant women’s bodies, Linda is a strong believer in women’s right to receive accurate, impartial information to enable them to make their own decisions about pregnancy and childbirth. As Linda has stated, ‘women can do without unnecessary guilt, anxiety and doubt – but not without the facts.’
A true pioneer of change, Diane was a central member of the Abortion Law Reform Association (ALRA) which made the 1967 Abortion Act possible. Having been vice chairman and main spokesperson since 1963 Diane took over as general secretary in 1968. She went on to help found the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) where she worked for many years defending women’s reproductive rights in the media and with policymakers during a time of significant attacks on abortion care. Diane’s enduring commitment to women’s reproductive autonomy continues to inspire activists and campaigners today. Read Diane’s piece on why we need to decriminalise abortion here.
Professor Wendy Savage has devoted her life to women’s health. She has been the co-ordinator and Press officer for Doctors for a Woman’s Choice on Abortion since 1976 and was the first female consultant appointed in obstetrics and gynaecology at the London Hospital and has always been a passionate advocate for her patients. Wendy is a huge inspiration to the next generation of abortion doctors and is tireless in her work to ensure women get access to safe, legal abortion.
An influential and passionate network of student-led projects based at universities within the UK who are committed to enabling young people to make informed decisions about their sexual health. They are strong advocates for sexual and reproductive rights and run important informal sex and relationship sessions in their local areas. By providing these sessions the students ensure that young people have the skills to access sources of confidential advice, empowering them to make informed choices about their bodies and sexual and reproductive health.
A leading campaigner for abortion, birth control and reproductive rights Dilys was a key member of the Abortion Law Reform Association (ALRA), who lead the calls for the 1967 Abortion Act and made this revolution in women’s reproductive rights possible. Following her role as Secretary of ALRA Dilys went on to be General Secretary of the Birth Control Campaign where she campaigned for free contraception on the NHS. Dilys made many more contributions to the development of reproductive rights through her involvements with IPPF, FPA, Brook and IPAS making her an invaluable Champion of Choice.