FSRH press statement: decriminalisation of abortion care

Posted 23 November 2017

Date: 23 Nov 2017

Type: FSRH News and Information

The Council of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) has today voted in favour of supporting abortion law reform.

The new position statement is based on conclusions reached by Council after thorough discussions and a consultation with FSRH voting members, which was carried out between October and November this year. The consultation showed that there is a broad and clear consensus from the vast majority of our members for the positions expressed in this statement.

 FSRH will now adopt the following statement as its formal position:

FSRH supports the removal of criminal sanctions associated with abortion, throughout the UK. Abortion should be subject to appropriate professional standards and regulatory frameworks.

Where it is assessed to be safe on a case-by-case basis, FSRH supports use of abortion medication at home (or a place of the woman’s choice).

FSRH supports the provision of contraceptive services in abortion care. We believe that abortion services should be required and commissioned to employ appropriately trained healthcare professionals to provide contraceptive advice, information, and care to all women who want it.

Dr Asha Kasliwal, FSRH President, said:

“I am very pleased that the FSRH Council has voted in favour of supporting the decriminalisation of abortion in the UK.

It is crucial to stress that supporting the decriminalisation of abortion does not mean supporting deregulation, quite the contrary. We believe that abortion care should be subject to the same regulation by healthcare authorities as other medical procedures. High professional standards must also guide the provision of abortion services.

This is a landmark vote by the FSRH Council which shows the Faculty’s commitment to women’s health and rights, and we look forward to contributing to the current debate about decriminalising aspects of abortion care.”
Dr Tracey Masters, FSRH Vice President, added:

“It is our duty, as healthcare professionals, to provide the best possible care and provide unbiased, evidence-based information for women so they can make the best decisions about their own bodies and their own reproductive health. The best possible care means ensuring that healthcare professionals are appropriately trained and that they can work without fear of criminal sanctions. 

I am also pleased that FSRH Council has supported the principle of home use of abortion medication. We know that it is safe for women to take their prescribed medication at home. Indeed, for women with miscarriage, this is a standard option that is offered.

FSRH, therefore, hopes that the Secretary of State for England and the Welsh Minister will soon follow last month’s exemplary lead of Scottish Ministers in granting approval for the second stage of early medical abortion treatment to be taken in a patient’s home.”

Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, 27 Sussex Place, London NW1 4RG. Charity No. 1019969.

Notes to editors:

  • 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 of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care. For more information please visit: www.fsrh.org.

  • FSRH has for some time held the position that women should be able to access safe and legal abortion wherever they live in the UK and that we advocate for a UK in which there is no fear of harassment or stigma for women who consult healthcare professionals for abortion. Our previous position also stated that all women should be able to receive prompt access to abortion services, which should include good pregnancy decision-making support and access to post-abortion counselling if needed.

  • Gestational limits: FSRH believes that if abortion were decriminalised, the procedure would still be governed by the same high-quality standards and regulatory frameworks that exist today, and therefore there would be no change with regards to current regulation on gestational limits.

For further information please contact:

Camila Azevedo
FSRH External Affairs & Standards Officer
Email: externalaffairsofficer@fsrh.org
Telephone: 02037 945 309