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.
Prior to 22nd October 2019, the 1967 Act did not apply to Northern Ireland, where abortion was 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." This was overturned when the High Court in Belfast ruled Northern Ireland's abortion law in breach of the UK's human rights commitments.
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
Videos from BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service) including descriptions of all the different contraceptive methods, and what to expect with different abortion methods
NHS adverts about contraception and sexual health
- Chlamydia worth talking about
- Contraception worth talking about
- Your contraception choices
- Abortion Rights – supporting women’s right to safe, free and legal abortion
- Blogposts on a range of abortion related issues from Education For Choice
- Voice for Choice – the UK pro-choice coalition
- Alliance for Choice – campaigning for legal abortion in Northern Ireland
- My body my rights – Amnesty International campaign for legal abortion in Northern Ireland
Information for health professionals:
- The care of women requesting induced abortion. Evidence-based clinical guideline number 7 from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Decision-making support within the integrated care pathway for women considering or seeking abortion – guidance for commissioners executive summary or full guidance
- Family Planning Association – for information about sexual health and contraceptive, information about training for health professionals, resources for professionals and patients, find a clinic tool, information about sex and relationships
- Bish Training for training and resources to teach young people about sex and relationships
- Sex Education Forum for information on sex education legislation and policy, evidence about sex and relationships education, best practice guidance, and access to training and resources