FSRH press statement: Women should be able to access preferred method of abortion care and contraception in abortion services

Posted 12 April 2019

Date: 12 Apr 2019

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) have today published draft guidelines on termination of pregnancy for consultation. FSRH believes women have the right to access the abortion procedure that best suits their needs and to undergo timely assessment and treatment. Commissioners and providers should ensure women have access to the full range of contraceptive methods in abortion services.

The NICE and RCOG guidelines are aimed at healthcare professionals, commissioners and providers and offer a set of recommendations on service provision.

The guidelines come at a time of rising unplanned pregnancies to women aged 30 and over. During the last decade, abortion rates have been increasing for women in this age group, which might be indicative of an unmet need for contraception.

Dr Tracey Masters, Vice President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:

“The new NICE and RCOG guideline on termination of pregnancies gives English commissioners and providers clear instruction to ensure women can access this vital part of reproductive health care. It is a welcome step to tackle the variation in availability and quality of abortion services across the country.

“Women have the right to choose the procedure that best suits their needs and to have assessment and treatment without delay. The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is pleased to see the various recommendations on provision of information and that women should be allowed to self-refer for abortion care.

“High quality contraception care within abortion services is hugely important and at FSRH we strongly support the recommendation that commissioners and providers should ensure the full range of contraceptive methods are discussed when the woman wishes this, and that a method clinically appropriate and chosen by the woman is available and provided to her within the abortion care setting.

“To implement the recommendations, we need an abortion care workforce with skilled multidisciplinary teams that are trained to deliver the best, non-stigmatising care. We support NICE’s recommendation to maximise the role of nurses and midwives in providing abortion care. FSRH notes that training this workforce needs to be properly commissioned and support both the NHS and independent providers in playing a role with training.

“FSRH is pleased to see the recommendation that all healthcare professionals who see women requesting abortion have an opportunity in their training to have exposure to abortion services. In line with our Personal Beliefs Guidance, we also endorse NICE’s recommendation that, for those in training programmes which include abortion care provision, that this is undertaken unless the individual opts out due to their conscientious objection.”


Notes to editors:

  • The draft NICE and RCOG guidelines can be found here
  • Abortion statistics for England and Wales 2017 can be found here
  • FSRH’s Personal Beliefs guidance can be found here
  • FSRH supports the decriminalisation of abortion in the UK. You can read our position statement here 
  • The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK professional membership organisation working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), supporting healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. It works with its 15,000 members, to shape sexual reproductive health for all. It produces evidence-based clinical guidance, standards, training, qualifications and research into SRH. It also delivers conferences and publishes the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health in partnership with the BMJ.

For further information please contact:
Camila Azevedo
FSRH External Affairs & Standards Manager
Email: externalaffairsmanager@fsrh.org
Telephone: 02037945309