FSRH guide to writing to an MP
Why should I write to my MP?
Writing to politicians is a good way to raise awareness in Parliament about any issues you may have in accessing contraceptive care in your local area. If you are struggling to access your contraception of choice, stuck on a long waiting list, or having to travel far to access contraception, then your rights to access healthcare are not being realised, and your MP should be made aware!
Raising awareness with MPs is very important – MPs can deliver local action or advocate on a national level to bring about change and improve contraceptive care for everyone who needs it.
What can I ask my MP to do?
By raising awareness of the issue with your MP, your letter can inspire an MP to act in the following ways: they could vote on the issue in Parliament – supporting changes that would benefit contraception services in their constituency. They can write to the Government Minister responsible for the issue or ask questions in Parliament about your concerns. Finally, they can request a debate on the matter in Parliament.
In addition, you can ask you MP to write to your local healthcare leaders or local councillors to raise your concerns at a local level.
How do I find who my MP is?
How do I find relevant statistics to support my asks?
For ease we have included some key statistics that may be helpful for you.
- Almost half of British women now experience poor sexual and reproductive health1
- Around 45% of pregnancies in Britain are unplanned or ambivalent2.
- 12% of women are not given any information about contraception after childbirth3.
- Over a quarter of conceptions in England and Wales in 2021 led to an abortion, increasing from 25.3% in 2020 to 26.5% in 2021⁴.
- Cervical screening coverage for women aged 25 to 64 is now at 70.2%, significantly below the 80% national target.
- More than a quarter (27%) of GPs in England disagreed that patients who need Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) are always able to access it⁵.
- Public health budgets have been cut by over 25% since 2015/16. One of the largest reductions in spending on sexual health services which have been cut 23% since 2015/2016⁶.
If you wish to find your own, area specific statistics the following sites may be of use to you.
- Office for Health Improvement & Disparities (OHID) Sexual & Reproductive Health (SRH) Profiles: for the most up-to-date local statistics on sexual and reproductive health in England. This includes data on abortion data, pregnancy data and HPV screening. To access the data specific to your area, you will have to sign up for a free account.
- Sexual and Reproductive Health Services (Contraception): this resource covers the contraceptive activity which takes place at dedicated Sexual and Reproductive Health services in England and Wales. It may seem overwhelming at first – but don’t panic! Key statistics are highlighted on the homepage, including general rates of contraception prescription. Tables 15-20 can be used to find data specific to your Local Authority or service provider.
- Sexual and Reproductive Data for Scotland: This data contains key statistics regarding reproductive health for individuals in Scotland, including Contraception access, Pregnancy rates and abortion rates.
- Abortion Data for Northern Ireland: This is the most up-to-date data available regarding Abortion in Northern Ireland. Using this resource, you can see how many pregnancies have been terminated within each HSC Trust.
Tips for writing a letter to an MP:
- Make sure you introduce yourself – MPs can only respond to concerns from their constituents so make sure you include your address and postcode, so they can confirm that you are a constituent.
- Use your own words, experiences, and concerns to explain why you care about this issue. Your MP will want to hear about how these issues have affected you personally.
- Keep it concise (ideally 1 page!) and focus on contraception action only. Multiple topics can come across disjointed and your MP may become confused about what action you are requesting from them.
- Keep a formal tone throughout, try to avoid using slang and do not use profanity.
Below is a downloadable template you can use to write to your local MP to raise your concerns about inadequate contraceptive care and access.
Items in [square brackets] are intended to be deleted and replaced with your own words. You do not have to include all the suggested points and can delete and edit the template as you please.
Please do include as much detail as you are comfortable with about your own experience accessing contraception and the impact this has had on you and your life. This will give your MP invaluable insight in to the situation in their constituency.