More than half of women were using contraception when they became pregnant, and 47,000 women die every year as a result of the complications of unsafe abortions where it's illegal.
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Women in mainland Britain have had access to safe legal abortion since the Abortion Act was introduced in 1967, yet the facts around it can remain hazy and unclear.
Discerning fact from fiction is a minefield, exacerbated by anti-choice groups who spread medically-inaccurate propaganda linking abortion to everything from breast cancer and infertilityto psychological trauma.
Stories posted on social media app Whisper are helping set the record straight, with women around the world finding the confidence to speak anonymously about their lack of regret and reaffirming their confidence in making the right decision.
A new study from the US has also shown that 95% of women don’t regret having an abortion.
Bortion in mainland Britain can be accessed for free through the NHS or paid for privately. It is carried out during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy after two doctors have signed agreeing that the case meets certain criteria, such as the risk to the physical or mental health of either the woman or the child if the pregnancy were to continue. The majority of doctors have firmly rejected any calls to reduce this 24 week limit because a number of serious abnormalities cannot be detected until the 20-week scan.
But not all women around the world enjoy the same rights and access. Even just across the water in Northern Ireland where regulation is still underpinned by the nineteenth century ‘Offences against the Person Act’, abortion outside very limited conditions, carries the harshest criminal penalty in Europe—life imprisonment for the woman and anyone assisting her.
Women have abortions for many different reasons.
The reasons women choose to have abortions vary widely and are deeply personal, as counsellors on our 24hr confidential helpline One Call (0345 300 8090) will attest. Many are already mums, some are devoutly religious and some have been advised to terminate a much-wanted pregnancy for medical reasons or severe foetal abnormalities. Sadly today, despite the fact that one in three women will have an abortion, hardly anyone talks about the issue. Instead, it is labelled as a ‘problem’ for the ‘reckless and feckless’, ignoring the fact that women having abortions are of all ages and backgrounds, and from every walk of life.