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It's been a busy few months, so we thought it was high time we updated you on all our work. Read on for news on the #BackOff campaign, Women's History Month celebrations and much more!
Buffer zones successes!
Last month 2246 of you sent emails to MPs across the country in favour of introducing buffer zones through our Back Off campaign. Earlier this week Sarah Olney MP for Richmond Park kick-started the fight for new legislation that would introduce buffer zones to prevent these protests. This another step forward towards Parliament recognising the need for the buffer zones.
We are also delighted to announce that an anti-abortion activist’s attempt to challenge the Ealing clinic buffer zone has been denied by the Supreme Courts. We are hopeful that this ruling will empower more councils to take action and introduce their own buffer zones.
However, there is a long way to go yet. You can do your part by emailing your MP now to seek their support:
Alternatively, if you have been directly affected by an anti-abortion clinic protest and you feel comfortable speaking to a journalist about your experience, please email [email protected]
Share your experience of privately funded IVF
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently developing guidance for IVF clinics in the UK, to ensure patients are treated fairly as they undergo IVF – and to address concerns that some clinics are mis-selling services. If you have undertaken self-funded IVF in the UK and are comfortable sharing your experience, please take a few minutes to take our short survey. ([link removed][UNIQID])
Celebrate International Women's Day with us
This year’s International Women’s Day theme was Each for Equal. BPAS were proud to be a part of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists conference to discuss the differences in maternity and gynaecology care experienced by women because of their race. We are committed to keeping women at the centre of our care and are dedicated to fighting any form of inequality in healthcare.
We are continuing the celebrations as March is also Women’s History Month. Throughout the month we will be sharing stories from our staff who are dedicated to upholding women's rights to access reproductive healthcare. You can follow along on our social media platforms below:
Inquiry into why women are being denied epidurals
We have been working to raise awareness of the denial of choice in childbirth and we are pleased that our work with the Telegraph newspaper ([link removed][UNIQID]) has led to a Government inquiry. This was launched by the Department of Health and Social Care and has found that women were being refused epidurals during labour. While we are glad that this issue is being taken seriously by the Government, we believe it is important to understand what is driving this decrease in the use of pain relief. We have collaborated with Birthrights to write a letter to Nadine Dorries MP, Health Minister, asking her to address these findings. You can read our letter here ([link removed][UNIQID]) .
The Gibraltar abortion referendum
We visited Gibraltar ahead of their upcoming abortion referendum being held on 19^th March. The current law within Gibraltar prohibits all abortions unless the woman’s life is at risk, and BPAS have been working continuously with pro-choice networks campaigning for a change to the current legislation. The bill put forward does not go as far as we would like, however we recognise the change and any steps towards a less restricted abortion service.
You can see more of our discussions here ([link removed][UNIQID]) .
Champion of Choice!
Ealing Council were buffer zones pioneers, and we were so pleased that the Supreme Court has denied a legal challenge to the safe zone they have created for women and healthcare providers.
Ealing Council have dedicated significant time and resources to creating and upholding the buffer zone, and because of their actions other councils are following suit. Thank you, Ealing Council!
** Support our work
You can support our work by visiting the friends of bpas shop. We have a limited number of "now for NI" tote bags remaining, so make sure you get yours now!
Become a friend of BPAS ([link removed][UNIQID])
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** Our work
Here are some of the things you'll be supporting:
We Trust Women
Under a law from 1861 any woman, anywhere in the UK, can go to prison for ending a pregnancy without the permission of two doctors. MPs support change, but we need the opportunity to make it happen. We are considering several legislative routes, including one based on the forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill.
Preventing clinic protests
Anti-abortion activism targeted at clinics is on the rise in the UK. We are working to introduce buffer zones around abortion clinics to protect women and staff from intimidation and harassment. So far two buffer zones have been introduced, and more are in the pipeline.
Fighting the two-child benefits cap
The two-child benefits cap pushes families into poverty and impacts women's reproductive decisions. We are working with other UK charities to fight it. Read our briefing here ([link removed][UNIQID]) .
Just Say Non!
Our campaign for accessible emergency contraception has seen prices slashed across major pharmacy chains. We're now working to make it available straight from the pharmacy shelf, without a mandatory consultation – as already happens in the USA, Canada, and many European countries.
Improving access to contraception
We're working with pharmacists nationwide to improve access to several methods of contraception, including the injection and the pill.
Working with women in prisons
Our contraceptive counselling & well woman advice service in Europe's largest women’s prison, HMP Bronzefield, was an RCNi Nurse Awards ([link removed][UNIQID]) finalist. We provide confidential, non-judgemental counselling & education to aid women's wellbeing & rehabilitation.
Decriminalisation further afield
We’ve been working with pro-choice campaigners and the governments of the Isle of Man and Gibraltar to change their laws outlawing abortion and help them provide care for their citizens.
Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy are bombarded with public health messages, for example about what to eat, drink, how much they should weigh, and what medications they should or shouldn’t take. The WRISK project ([link removed][UNIQID]) aims to understand and improve the communication of risk in pregnancy, to make things better for women.
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