From The bpas team <[email protected]>
Subject Telemedical abortion services and BPAS Fertility!
Date September 4, 2020 3:01 PM
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Dear John,

Telemedical abortion services

Temporary COVID-19 measures allow women to access abortion medication lawfully at home, which thousands of women have already benefited from. As a result of the pressure many of you brought to bear during the passage of the Domestic Abuse Bill, the Government has committed to consulting on continuing remote provision of early abortion services. We will be in touch soon on how you can support this.

Early medical abortion care has been one of the few healthcare successes of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing waiting times and with it the average gestation at which an abortion is performed. All evidence supports the continuation of this service and we look forward to demonstrating the clear benefits to women. You can read more about one woman’s experience in Cosmopolitan ([link removed][UNIQID]) here, and why she wants the service to continue.
BPAS Fertility!

We have been documenting the worrying extent of the IVF postcode lottery and its consequences for patients. Our research ([link removed][UNIQID]) found that Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England restrict access to NHS-funded fertility treatments for non-clinical reasons, including arbitrary age restrictions, BMI, or the fact their partner has a child from a previous relationship.

The Sunday Times ([link removed][UNIQID]) published our findings, also noting that some CCGs are denying IVF to patients based on their relationship status. If individuals are single or have not lived with their partner for what the CCG determines to be long enough, then they may not qualify for funded treatment. Different CCGs require different levels of commitment, including evidence of shared bank accounts and varying numbers of years of partnership.

We believe that access to any form of healthcare should be rooted in clinical evidence. It’s deeply unfair that systemic problems with funding have created a fertility pot-luck, with devastating consequences for some patients.

Our #FairIVF campaign calls for a standardisation across CCGs in line with NHS guidance to end harmful discrepancies. This unfair system needs to change. You can email your MP asking them to support #FairIVF here. ([link removed][UNIQID])

Alongside our ongoing research and advocacy for #FairIVF provision in the NHS and patient-centred fertility care, we have also created BPAS Fertility. ([link removed][UNIQID]) We believe that if individuals do need to self-fund their treatment, they should have access to evidence-based, ethical, high-quality care, without paying extortionate prices. From 2021 we will provide a safe, accessible, high-quality service at not-for-profit prices.

Our Director of Embryology, Marta Jansa Peres, explains more:

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You can also stay up to date by following our BPAS Fertility social media channels below!
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Fertility Survey

We also want to know how this pandemic has affected fertility patients. If you’re going through IVF or fertility treatment, you can take our short survey sharing your experience here. ([link removed][UNIQID])

FASD – Draft Quality Standards

NICE have reopened a postponed consultation their Draft Quality Standards on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), with closes on September 18th. We are deeply concerned about the implications for women of these proposals. Under the measures, a woman will be asked at every antenatal appointment about any alcohol she has drunk, and the information transferred – without her consent being sought – to her child’s medical records. There is simply no robust evidence of harm to the pregnancy at lower levels of consumption so we cannot understand how a woman’s right to medical privacy could be overridden in this way.

As we’ve published in the BMJ ([link removed][UNIQID]) , we believe this is a misplaced focus. These proposals are made without reference to informed consent or any potential consequences and harms that could arise from this framework. We support greater assistance for those affected by alcohol consumption in pregnancy, but we do not believe these proposals will achieve that goal and we can see how they will seriously undermine women’s own rights in pregnancy.

The NICE consultation on their Quality Standards on FASD runs until 18^th September. Please do drop us an email at [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) if you would like to know more about our concerns. You can also read our full briefing here. ([link removed][UNIQID])

WRISK Survey

Have you been pregnant or given birth since 12^th March?

We are interested in how messages about risk, COVID-19, and pregnancy have been communicated to you, and your experiences of maternity services during the pandemic. If you feel comfortable sharing your experience, please consider taking our survey here. ([link removed][UNIQID])

My Body, My Life survey

Have you needed an abortion during Covid-19? If so,MybodyMyLife, ([link removed][UNIQID]) a project supported by BPAS, would like to hear fro you. If you would like to contribute, are aged 16+ and based in the UK or Ireland please email [email protected] for more information.
Thank you as always for your support.

Best wishes,

The bpas team
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** Our work
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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