This week a coalition of medical bodies and charities, led by bpas, is urging the Home Secretary ([link removed][UNIQID]) to look again at the issue of clinic protests, in light of new evidence that the previous consultation was flawed.
Since the Home Office’s review last year (and subsequent decision not to intervene), 34 clinics across the country have had protesters outside their gates. Now, FOI documents have revealed that the Home Office’s final report completely ignored the evidence they received from medical colleges, and underplayed and misrepresented women’s experiences. Worst of all, a civil servant was recorded as stating, “there is need to be seen to do something but [we] don’t want to actually do something.”
Please write to your MP now to ask them raise this issue with the Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP. It takes one minute and all you need is your postcode:
Email your MP now ([link removed][UNIQID])
Northern Ireland's abortion law breaches human rights
In a ruling that surprised no one, the High Court in Belfast has ruled that Northern Ireland’s abortion law is incompatible with the UK’s human rights ([link removed][UNIQID]) obligations. The case was brought by Sarah Ewart, who pursued the case for years after she was denied a termination in Northern Ireland.
The ruling came just in time, since Northern Ireland’s criminal sanctions for abortion will fall away later this month (unless the NI Executive reconvenes). We blogged ([link removed][UNIQID]) for the Huffpost about what this all means for women in Northern Ireland.
Standing up for single parents
Last week we challenged NHS South East London on their policy to deny funded IVF services to single women because single parents “do not give the best outcome for the child.” Alongside charities Birthrights, IVF Fairness, IVF Babble and the Dovecote, we wrote an open letter urging them to reconsider this policy, which stigmatises single-parent families and contravenes NICE guidelines. Read our letter here ([link removed][UNIQID]) .
Breastfeeding and the environment
We have teamed up with Feed UK and Dr Ellie Cannon to challenge a recent article published in the BMJ, which presented breastfeeding as an "environmental imperative". Here's an excerpt from our joint response, and you can read the full version here ([link removed][UNIQID]) .
"By focusing on the suggested environmental benefits of breastfeeding over the use of infant formula the authors fail to hold the correct people to account for the issue - the producers - and instead place the onus on consumers, who are predominantly women. The responsibility for reducing whatever global climate burden is posed by infant formula should not come at the expense of women’s reproductive rights, which are inclusive of how women use their breasts."
World Contraception Day
We celebrated World Contraception Day last month by calling for emergency contraception to be sold straight from the pharmacy shelf to improve access. Emergency contraception is a very safe but currently under-utilised – and stigmatised – resource. We blogged ([link removed][UNIQID]) about why we should do everything we can to facilitate swift access to this safe, time-sensitive second chance to avoid an unwanted pregnancy – and not view it as a “marker of irresponsibility”.
Risk in pregnancy: what does it all mean?
The last few weeks have seen several headlines warning of the dangers everyday things can pose in pregnancy, ranging from taking paracetamol ([link removed][UNIQID]) to feeling stressed ([link removed][UNIQID]) . But how true are these headlines, and what does it all really mean? In our latest blog for the WRISK project, “What does ‘risk’ in pregnancy mean to you? ([link removed][UNIQID]) ”, Peter Tennant and Tomasina Stacey share their research on what risk means, and the misconceptions surrounding it.
Champions of Choice
We’re delighted that three people are running the Royal Parks Half Marathon in aid of bpas this month! Click here to sponsor Aimee ([link removed][UNIQID]) , Will ([link removed][UNIQID]) and Nicola ([link removed][UNIQID]) .
Writer and advocate Claire has written a new play, inspired by her own experience of abortion. You can read her story here ([link removed][UNIQID]) or buy tickets here ([link removed][UNIQID]#overview) .
‘A Womb of One’s Own’ runs from 19-23 November at the Pleasance, London.
Email your MP about buffer zones ([link removed][UNIQID])
** 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!
Visit the shop ([link removed][UNIQID])
** 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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