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Health, Sports & Psychology
  • Video
  • 30 mins
  • Level 1: Introductory

Why do women need abortions?

Updated Wednesday 8th February 2017

It's been 50 years since the Abortion Act 1967 was passed, but women who have an abortion can still feel stigmatised. We've produced a video collection on women's abortion experiences, based on Open University research that shows how an unintended and unwanted pregnancy can easily happen, even when women are using contraception.

 On 27 October 1967 a bill was passed making abortions by registered practitioners legal in specific circumstances. The 1967 Abortion Act (as amended by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990) permits abortion up to 24 weeks when two doctors agree that continuing with the pregnancy would be more harmful to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman, or any existing children of her family, than if the pregnancy was ended.  After 24 weeks an abortion is permitted in very limited circumstances concerning the health of the pregnant woman or her child if the pregnancy proceeds. A new Campaign, We Trust Women, believes that abortion should be removed from the criminal law completely.

The 1967 Act does not apply to Northern Ireland, where abortion is illegal unless the doctor acts to save the mother's life or if the pregnancy would result in the pregnant woman becoming a "physical or mental wreck." .

To highlight the 50th anniversary of the Act being passed, as well as women’s current experiences of abortion, we created a video collection based on an Open University research project on real women's abortion experience. 

* These videos use actors to tell the stories from real life case studies about abortion experiences. 

Helpful links and information

Video resources:

Pro-Choice advocacy:

Information for health professionals: 

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For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

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