Abortion: What we want to achieve

Reform in Northern Ireland

We want the UK Government to protect women in Northern Ireland from forced pregnancies.

A historic referendum in the Republic of Ireland in May 2018 paved the way for the introduction of a law to provide for abortion care.

This means Northern Ireland will become the only place in the British Isles where women are denied abortion in almost every circumstance.

The UK has been continually criticised for its failure to meet its duties regarding reproductive and human rights.

  • In February 2018, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) said that the UK is responsible for "grave" and "systematic" violations of women’s rights in Northern Ireland by unduly restricting access to abortion.
  • In June 2018, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the law on abortion is incompatible with the right to respect for private and family life guaranteed by article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

We want to see sections 58 and 59 of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act repealed.

By decriminalising abortion, the UK Government would be honouring international obligations set out by CEDAW.

Find out about our Time for Change campaign >>

Decriminalisation of abortion across the UK

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland today, any woman who ends her own pregnancy at any stage can be sent to prison for life under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 – a law created before women could even vote.

Thousands of women across the UK are risking prosecution every year by ordering pills to end their own pregnancy from online providers, 25% of whom report being in abusive relationships.

We want to see abortion removed from criminal law in all parts of the UK and regulated as a healthcare procedure.

Amnesty International, bpas and FPA briefing on the decriminalisation of abortion (PDF)

Our policy on abortion (PDF)

Safe zones around abortion clinics

We believe the UK Government should do more to protect women from reproductive harassment and bullying, by establishing safe zones outside abortion care clinics and pregnancy counselling centres.

In the UK, there's been an increase in anti-choice groups protesting outside of clinics and other services.

This frequently involves displaying images of dismembered fetuses, distributing leaflets with misinformation about abortion, and challenging and following women as they enter and leave health services.