Statement on the sentencing of a woman for procuring an abortion
Mandu Reid, Leader of the Women's Equality Party
First and foremost, I want to send my support and my solidarity to the woman shamefully deprived of her freedom today, to her children, who will be missing their mum, and to everyone currently under police investigation or undergoing court proceedings regarding an abortion.
Today is a painful day. A woman in England has been criminalised for seeking healthcare in the middle of a pandemic. Now she has been sentenced to over two years in prison.
This case is a damning indictment of abortion law in England. Nothing about this conviction serves the public interest, or the interests of her and her children. It also reveals the indefensible, ugly truth about the criminalisation of abortion. Opposition to abortion has never been about what’s best for children or women. It has always been about restricting women’s freedom and bodily autonomy.
The consequences of today’s sentencing, along with the increase in the number of women being investigated following abortions, miscarriages and stillbirths will ripple across the country. And it will be women who pay the price. It may deter women from seeking vital healthcare when they need it, and risk women feeling forced into continuing with unwanted pregnancies.
This conviction must mark a line in the sand. It’s time to move abortion out of criminal law once and for all. Abortion is healthcare and it must be free, safe and legal.