When Was Abortion Legalised in Britain

The Abortion Act stipulated that abortions had to take place in NHS hospitals or other licensed clinics. It was also expected that the NHS would give specific advice. In 1939, the Birkett Committee was created by the government to clarify whether doctors could perform an abortion to save a woman`s life, but its work was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. The Church of England combines strong opposition to abortion with the recognition that there may be “strictly limited” conditions under which it is morally preferable to any available alternative. This is based on his view that the fetus is a human life with the potential to develop, think, pray, choose and love relationships. The Church suggested that arguments for further reducing the time limit for abortions “should be viewed sympathetically on the basis of advances in neonatal care” and said that any possible support, especially from Church members, must be given to those who are pregnant in difficult circumstances. [109] The Guernsey Act 1997 does not apply to Alderney and Sark,[124] which are also part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, but continue to apply an earlier law in French identical to the Offences Against the Persons of England and Wales Act 1861, which does not mention any explicit legal ground for abortion. [125] The decision of Rex v. Bourne in England and Wales made it clear that the law still implicitly allowed abortion, at least to save the woman`s life, and the ruling also extended it to preserve her health. [126] It is not clear whether Alderney and Sark apply only the original principle of law or also the continuance by judicial decision. The law legalized abortion throughout the UK (but not Northern Ireland) up to 28 weeks` gestation for a variety of reasons. By 2009, the number of abortions had risen to 189,100.

Of these, 2,085 are due to the fact that doctors have decided that there is a significant risk that the child will have physical or mental abnormalities such at birth that he or she will be severely disabled. [145] In 2020, legal abortions were performed in England and Wales for the following reasons: Under the UK`s devolution agreements, abortion policy is transferred to the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly, but not to the Welsh Parliament (Senedd). Abortion was previously severely restricted in Northern Ireland, although it was allowed in limited cases. In 2019, at a time when the Assembly was not functioning, the British Parliament lifted most restrictions on abortion in Northern Ireland. the current regulations were introduced by Parliament in 2020. [6] [8] [9] [10] When asked whether it should be more difficult for women to obtain an abortion In Northern Ireland, the total number of abortions in 2017-2018 was 12, followed by 8 in 2018-2019 and 22 in 2019-2020. [132] [133] As noted above, abortions were permitted most of the time. if the act was intended to save the mother`s life or if there was a risk of permanent and serious harm to the mother`s mental or physical health. Therefore, for many years, it has been considered good practice for physicians to rely on information gathered by other members of their team to determine whether a woman meets the criteria for an abortion, just as it is considered good practice for nurses to administer medication. The highest number of abortions is recorded among women aged 20 to 24. However, much attention has been paid to adolescent girls, as England and Wales have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates for 15-19 year olds in Western Europe.

Minor changes to the 1967 Abortion Act have been introduced by government laws, most recently the Council`s approval of telemedicine abortion in the Health and Care Act 2022. [44] Again, the law gives physicians a gatekeeper role in deciding who can have an abortion, but in this role it gives a great deal of leeway in decision-making. The law does not say that doctors “must” consider a woman`s environment, but that they “may” do so. The 1967 law rejected the importance of reproductive autonomy and instead presented the public with a medicalized interpretation of abortion. Currently, more and more doctors have a liberal attitude towards abortion and more abortions are performed in the nonprofit sector, making abortions incredibly accessible. The 1967 abortion law creates a narrative of women needing paternalistic control.