British Medical Association Approves Campaign to Decriminalize Abortion

In England and Wales abortion care is provided by the state under certain circumstances, though under the 1967 Abortion Act the procedure is regarded as otherwise criminal. At its annual conference this June, the British Medical Association approved by supermajority a motion to lobby parliament to decriminalize abortion and treat it as any other medical procedure. Such a shift in policy could result in changed regulations about when and how abortion care is provided. Dr. Clare Gerada, former chairwoman of the Royal College of General Physicians and a trustee of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service called the motion powerful and said that “the [British Medical Association] to be coming out absolutely overwhelmingly for the decriminalization of abortion” should mean that “politicians will have to stand up and listen and actually take action.” A spokeswoman from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales criticized the notion, asserting that “the decriminalization of abortion may put more vulnerable women at risk.”

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