It's time to take abortion out of criminal law

It's time to take abortion out of criminal law

The Women’s Equality Party says it's time to take abortion out of the UK’s criminal law.

The Women’s Equality Party (WE) is calling for Victorian-era legislation that criminalises abortion to be scrapped. The 1861 Offences Against the Person Act, passed before women could vote, made self-induced abortion illegal. The 1967 Abortion Act did not overturn this law, but made abortion legal if agreed by two doctors.

“These antiquated laws have no place in today’s legislation,” said Women’s Equality Party leader Sophie Walker. “Abortion should be a choice a woman can make for herself, not a decision which must be made on her behalf. It should be regulated in the same way as women’s other healthcare needs.”

The party has joined the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) campaign to remove abortion from the criminal law.

“In every country in the UK today, a woman who ends her own pregnancy without legal authorisation can be sentenced to life in prison,” Walker added.

“It is wrong that women who choose to end their pregnancies, or doctors who make decisions to provide safe abortions alone, face the threat of prosecution. Twenty-first century women should be trusted to make their own decisions.”