Abortion Situation In The UK

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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by Woodchopper » Sun Jul 03, 2022 5:47 am

Gfamily wrote:
Sat Jul 02, 2022 5:04 pm
Not a recent development, but it seems that UK Police forces have made multiple accusations against women who have experienced miscarriages or failed pregnancies.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/ ... tillbirths
Abortion should be regulated like any other medical procedure. The last thing anyone needs is quacks claiming to be able to do abortions.

But a pregnant woman who tries to do that herself within the legal term limit would best be viewed as someone who needs help rather than a criminal.

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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by Stranger Mouse » Sun Jul 03, 2022 8:40 am

dyqik wrote:
Sat Jul 02, 2022 3:42 pm
And it's worth noting that Nadine Dorries has reportedly recently (post Dobbs) made statements about banning clinics etc. from giving advice about abortions. So there's at least some will to do that in the current government, and it probably wouldn't require primary legislation.
I saw a report about anti abortion disinformation centres which misrepresent themselves as advice centres and receive state money for carrying out their “work” (even though they provide no clinical services). I can easily see something like that happening here on some level.

https://news.yahoo.com/texas-state-fund ... 49629.html
At another CPC in the Dallas area, a volunteer disclosed that the center does not offer abortions and then repeated the falsehood that abortions can cause infertility. Asked about the abortion pill, the volunteer told a producer, “My job is not to scare you … you never get over seeing that baby.” She then pointed to a plastic model of a fetus and said, “Can you imagine one of these in your panties?”

She added, “Because of government stuff … I can pray for you. I can’t pray with you” and sent the producer home with a pair of knit baby booties.
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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by temptar » Sun Jul 03, 2022 10:36 am

Women are always seen as low hanging fruit.

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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by purplehaze » Sun Jul 03, 2022 11:33 am

This morning on Sunday, Radio 4 Paddy O'Connell mentioned that BPAS has reported an increase in protesting outside all abortion clinics in the UK following the Roe V Wade decision by SCOTUS. I could only find online this interesting report from the BBC which centres on Northern Ireland.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62009477

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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by temptar » Sun Jul 03, 2022 1:40 pm

Dublin saw a celebratory demo following the striking down of Roe versus Wade. These things are never settled, and they attract single issue obsessives. Note - Ireland has already repealed the section of the 1861 act discussed above and we have popular support by referendum for current rights.

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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by Fishnut » Mon Oct 30, 2023 8:55 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Sat Jul 02, 2022 5:04 pm
Not a recent development, but it seems that UK Police forces have made multiple accusations against women who have experienced miscarriages or failed pregnancies.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/ ... tillbirths
More reporting on this.
British police are testing women for abortion drugs and requesting data from menstrual tracking apps after unexplained pregnancy losses...

There has been a rise in cases of UK police investigating the procurement of illegal abortions in recent years, according to Home Office data.
The article is rather frustrating tbh. It hops between the UK, the US and Poland, and is very light on data. However, despite its flaws, it's clear that police are investigating miscarriages as potentially the result of criminal activity. What isn't clear is what's caused the increase, or how the police are being alerted to potential cases.

It's worth noting that, according to the NHS, around 1 in 8 recognised pregnancies end in miscarriage (it's even more when you count those pregnancies that haven't yet been recognised). Around 1 in 100 women have recurrent miscarriages (3 or more in a row).

If even a small fraction of those miscarriages end up being investigated by police that's a huge number of women being traumatised and stressed for no good reason, and a huge amount of police resources being wasted. It all highlights the need for us to update our abortion laws. Abortion is still illegal in the UK under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The Abortion Act 1967 only carved out exceptions to that law - basically that abortion could happen if two doctors agreed that continuing the pregnancy would harm the pregnant woman (or they agreed that the foetus was would be born seriously handicapped). It's the only medical procedure that requires two doctors to approve it.

A 2007 Select Committee discussed this requirement and it makes fascinating reading.
86. The Department of Health has ruled that both doctors are able to sign the HSA forms without seeing the patient, so long as they believe, in good faith, that the woman meets the legal grounds for abortion on the basis of the clinical notes...

87. If requests for abortions are being 'rubber stamped' by doctors, either the requirement for two signatures does not play a meaningful role in abortion practice or the law is not being properly applied.
...
89. According to the RCN, there is no other medical or surgical procedure that requires the signature of two doctors before it is carried out.[111] Further, Professor Sally Sheldon points out that the requirement for two doctors' signatures runs contrary to the concept of patient autonomy.[112] Her submission noted that judges have said that:

[A] medical practitioner must comply with clear instructions given by an adult of sound mind as to the treatment to be given or not given […] whether those instructions are rational or irrational.[113]

90. She also noted that pregnant women are not an exception: the Court of Appeal said that:

[P]regnancy […] does not diminish (a woman's) entitlement to decide whether or not to undergo medical treatment […] Her right is not reduced or diminished merely because her decision to exercise it may appear morally repugnant.[114]

91. We received evidence that the two signature requirement is an artefact of the legal basis of the Abortion Act 1967. Dr Peter Saunders, who spoke to us as a representative of the Alive & Kicking alliance, summed it up:

I think we have to understand this in its historical context. Abortion is quite unique because under the Offences Against the Person Act abortion is still illegal in this country, which means that if you commit an illegal abortion you can go to prison for 14 years. The reason there are two doctors in the Act has nothing to do with medicine or safety but everything to do with legality.[115]
...
99. We were not presented with any good evidence that, at least in the first trimester, the requirement for two doctors' signatures serves to safeguard women or doctors in any meaningful way, or serves any other useful purpose. We are concerned that the requirement for two signatures may be causing delays in access to abortion services. If a goal of public policy is to encourage early as opposed to later abortion, we believe there is a strong case for removing the requirement for two doctors' signatures. We would like see the requirement for two doctors' signatures removed.
That select committee met almost exactly 16 years ago, yet women still have to get two doctors to sign off on a medical procedure. It's possible to see this as a good thing - abortion is so low down the list of government priorities that they aren't bothered to make any changes, good or bad. But it also highlights how pointless these committees are, and how slow the government is to actually do anything positive.
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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by Fishnut » Fri Nov 10, 2023 10:50 pm

The Guardian has a good piece on the increase in prosecutions.
Between 1861 and November 2022, three women in Great Britain were convicted of an illegal abortion (the Abortion Act was never extended to Northern Ireland). One was a refugee, in 2012, who was given a community order. The other two, in 2012 and 2015, were given jail sentences. Since December 2022, six women have been charged. They are awaiting trial.
This really surprised me - were there really no convictions of women prior to the 21st century? A very cursory search suggests this may be true, and that prosecutions went after abortion doctors, rather than the women obtaining the abortion.

The piece looks into the question I asked in my previous post - how are the police being alerted to potential cases. It seems that medical staff have become increasingly aware of medical abortions taking place without going through legal channels and they think they have a duty to report,
[Jonathan Lord, the co-chair of the British Society of Abortion Care Providers] and [Claire Murphy, the chief executive of BPAS] believe the greater awareness that abortion pills can be obtained, online and informally, means that more medical staff are coming into contact with those who have taken the drugs. In 2014, the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency reported record numbers of the pills being imported. Of those medics reporting women to the police, Lord says: “Although it’s not impossible some of it may be from anti-abortion sentiment, I think that’s relatively unlikely and will be sporadic. Most of the time, it is down to that ‘upright citizen’ attitude – ‘I’ve been told about a crime, it’s my duty to call the police.’

“What they don’t do is then make the next step, which is: ‘I am a healthcare professional, I’ve got confidential information about a patient.’ They’re never making that leap. In a couple of cases, I have spoken to the professional involved – they genuinely hadn’t thought about confidentiality. Had they read the General Medical Council code? What bit of that had they not understood?”
...
[Dr Hayley Webb, chair of Doctors for Choice] thinks many professionals have misunderstood their role in confidentiality. “They think that if they suspect a law has been broken, they have to report it. That is not true. If a patient is telling us they take class A drugs, we wouldn’t pick up the phone and call the police.”
The article describes how the lives of accused women are being ruined,
Lord describes a case of a teenager who had a stillbirth. She had a large number of risk factors, not least that she was very young, but it took a coroner more than a year to determine the pregnancy had ended due to natural causes. “She had her confidentiality completely destroyed – everything was being done while she was pregnant to make sure that nobody knew she had a progressing pregnancy, because of the community she was from, and then [after the stillbirth] the police raided the house. It was horrific. Everyone in her family, everyone in the community, knew.”

The girl’s phone and all her electronic equipment were seized, even though she was never charged, which meant that none of the agencies who had been supporting her during the pregnancy could reach her. It left her “completely isolated”, Lord says: “When you lose your phone and your computer, you lose all your social support.”

Another woman had all her electronics seized, including her work computer: “What do you tell your work?” Lord asks. “‘Oh, by the way, I’ve just been arrested and they’ve taken my computer’?”
The current abortion laws in the UK are archaic and are criminalising women for exercising bodily autonomy. They need to be changed.
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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by IvanV » Fri Nov 10, 2023 11:33 pm

Well the present lot are not going to do anything about it, for the same reason you already identified in your Jenrick topic - they are evil right wing c.nts. Stuff like this brings joy to the cockles of their heart. The weak are marginalised and societal exclusion is expanded. It all adds up to maintaining the privilege of a narrow group of the privileged.

I worry that the Labour party will make the same mistakes that they made last time they were in office, and fail to deal with this kind of stuff, fail to do the things that actually makes real progress in reducing marginalisation and exclusion and inequality. But that kind of stuff doesn't go down very well with their traditional core vote, who are socially very conservative. Appealing to their social conservatism was how the conservatives briefly won the red wall. This is the conundrum of being the labour party, trying to reconcile their socially liberal but reasonably well off and educated supporters, and their socially illiberal but low income voters. Because they don't have a majority without the support of those groups.

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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by Grumble » Sat Nov 11, 2023 12:18 am

IvanV wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2023 11:33 pm
Well the present lot are not going to do anything about it, for the same reason you already identified in your Jenrick topic - they are evil right wing c.nts. Stuff like this brings joy to the cockles of their heart. The weak are marginalised and societal exclusion is expanded. It all adds up to maintaining the privilege of a narrow group of the privileged.

I worry that the Labour party will make the same mistakes that they made last time they were in office, and fail to deal with this kind of stuff, fail to do the things that actually makes real progress in reducing marginalisation and exclusion and inequality. But that kind of stuff doesn't go down very well with their traditional core vote, who are socially very conservative. Appealing to their social conservatism was how the conservatives briefly won the red wall. This is the conundrum of being the labour party, trying to reconcile their socially liberal but reasonably well off and educated supporters, and their socially illiberal but low income voters. Because they don't have a majority without the support of those groups.
I think appealing to their Englishness or possibly their Britishness was how the Tories won the red wall. Because European-ness was not very deeply embedded in the British psyche.
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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by Fishnut » Tue Dec 05, 2023 7:35 pm

Women in the UK are at risk of imprisonment if they exercise their bodily autonomy, but a gynaecologist who unnecessarily sterilised a woman without her consent is just suspended for a year.
The tribunal previously heard Dr Sim and the patient had discussed sterilisation twice over a period of years, but the patient had never consented or expressed any wish to undergo sterilisation.

When she required the emergency caesarean section, Dr Sim delivered the baby and blocked the patient's fallopian tubes to permanently impair their normal function.

Dr Sim previously admitted to the tribunal that this was in violation of the woman's reproductive rights.
...
The tribunal also previously heard that Patient A underwent further surgery to reverse the sterilisation procedure.

The tribunal previously heard Dr Sim has now retired and relinquished his licence to practice earlier this year.
So basically this guy has faced no punishment.
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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Dec 06, 2023 8:41 am

Fishnut wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2023 7:35 pm
Women in the UK are at risk of imprisonment if they exercise their bodily autonomy, but a gynaecologist who unnecessarily sterilised a woman without her consent is just suspended for a year.
The tribunal previously heard Dr Sim and the patient had discussed sterilisation twice over a period of years, but the patient had never consented or expressed any wish to undergo sterilisation.

When she required the emergency caesarean section, Dr Sim delivered the baby and blocked the patient's fallopian tubes to permanently impair their normal function.

Dr Sim previously admitted to the tribunal that this was in violation of the woman's reproductive rights.
...
The tribunal also previously heard that Patient A underwent further surgery to reverse the sterilisation procedure.

The tribunal previously heard Dr Sim has now retired and relinquished his licence to practice earlier this year.
So basically this guy has faced no punishment.
On your last point, the role of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service isn’t to punish doctors. They assess fitness to practice. Of course some outcomes may seem like punishment but as far as I know that isn’t one of their criteria.

Sim could be punished with a criminal prosecution. That is possible for someone who performed unnecessary surgery, though I don’t know whether it’s likely in this case.

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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by discovolante » Wed Dec 06, 2023 10:15 am

Seems like it should amount to grievious bodily harm, but that's up to the CPS I suppose, and if there is any precedent/guidance.
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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Dec 06, 2023 10:18 am

discovolante wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2023 10:15 am
Seems like it should amount to grievious bodily harm, but that's up to the CPS I suppose, and if there is any precedent/guidance.
Google tells me that this surgeon got 15 years:
Consultant surgeon Ian Stuart Paterson, 59, was convicted on Friday of 17 counts of wounding with intent, relating to nine women and one man. He was also convicted of three further wounding charges.

Jurors at the seven-week trial at Nottingham crown court decided the surgeon carried out “extensive, life-changing operations for no medically justifiable reason” on the 10 patients between 1997 and 2011.

He could have more than 1,000 additional victims, among them hundreds of private Spire Healthcare patients who may never be compensated for botched and unnecessary surgery.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... st-surgery

So a prosecution can happen, but Paterson seems to have been a much worse offender.

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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by EACLucifer » Wed Dec 06, 2023 11:01 am

discovolante wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2023 10:15 am
Seems like it should amount to grievious bodily harm, but that's up to the CPS I suppose, and if there is any precedent/guidance.
I've got to admit that was my immediate assumption, too, but the problem's often not with the law but its enforcement against privileged individuals. I've heard some pretty nasty stories about surgeons deciding to just do something totally different to what was agreed to while doing top surgery on trans guys, but while in theory it should be GBH, in practise actually getting them held to account seems to be impossible.

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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by Fishnut » Fri Dec 15, 2023 9:07 pm

A nugget of good news
Christian campaigners have lost a legal challenge to an order banning prayers outside an abortion clinic.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council imposed a "safe zone" in 2022 around the clinic in Bournemouth.
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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by Fishnut » Mon Feb 05, 2024 9:03 pm

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is telling healthcare workers not to report women to the police if they think a patient has illegally ended their pregnancy.

Along with the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), British Society of Abortion Care Providers and the Faculty of Public Health, they are publishing new guidance outlining that healthcare professionals are under no legal obligation to contact the police following an abortion, pregnancy loss or unattended delivery.
The RCOG and the FSRH have stated that it is never in the public interest to investigate a patient who is suspected of ending their own pregnancy, a view endorsed by over 60 organisations and professionals.

...Unless a statute requires it (for example with female genital mutilation), a healthcare must abide by their professional responsibility to justify any disclosure of confidential patient information or face potential fitness to practice proceedings. Where healthcare professionals do involve the police it should be in the patient’s best interests or needed to protect others – for example where there is a risk of death or serious harm.
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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by Stranger Mouse » Tue Feb 06, 2024 3:42 pm

It’s been just over 18 months since this thread started. I was wondering if any of the people who weren’t at all worried in the early parts of the thread are starting a teensy bit uneasy with the direction things are going in.
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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Feb 06, 2024 3:55 pm

Fundamentally, no. The law hasn't changed, medical practitioners are responding to make the law as it is less harmful, and the outrage caused by these incidents if anything makes it less likely that we will see any restriction of availability of abortion in the UK. I can well imagine it being the sort of thing that a Labour government might reform.

Obviously, it's distressing to hear about cases where abortion law has been used to prosecute women in the UK, but even with that as the case, I don't think we're heading in a Roe vs Wade direction.
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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by Fishnut » Tue Feb 06, 2024 7:15 pm

I'm hoping that the statement and new guidance will improve things. We do need abortion reform, making it fully legal and doing away with the need for two doctors to sign off. But for now the barriers in place are easy to jump through and it is, for the most part, one of those areas of law where everyone is happy to look the other way.

I do fear that it may become another hobbyhorse for the far right but they seem to be almost entirely focused on immigration right now with little sign of getting bored. I'm also hoping that they will be looking to the USA and seeing how unpopular restrictions are with voters and deciding it's not worth pursuing here.
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Re: Abortion Situation In The UK

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Feb 07, 2024 11:46 am

Fishnut wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2024 9:03 pm
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is telling healthcare workers not to report women to the police if they think a patient has illegally ended their pregnancy.

Along with the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), British Society of Abortion Care Providers and the Faculty of Public Health, they are publishing new guidance outlining that healthcare professionals are under no legal obligation to contact the police following an abortion, pregnancy loss or unattended delivery.
The RCOG and the FSRH have stated that it is never in the public interest to investigate a patient who is suspected of ending their own pregnancy, a view endorsed by over 60 organisations and professionals.

...Unless a statute requires it (for example with female genital mutilation), a healthcare must abide by their professional responsibility to justify any disclosure of confidential patient information or face potential fitness to practice proceedings. Where healthcare professionals do involve the police it should be in the patient’s best interests or needed to protect others – for example where there is a risk of death or serious harm.
Its worth noting that in general there is no legal obligation upon anyone to report a crime or their suspicions of one (though as stated in the quote there are a few exceptions eg FGM or money laundering). Also, doctors are governed by strict ethics and regulations concerning confidentiality, and so reporting their patients to the police would require very serious consideration. It would be bad if, say, someone who had overdosed didn't get immediate medical care due to concerns that their doctor might make a police report.

Its good that the RCOG and the FSRH are emphasizing this. It'll hopefully encourage people to seek help if they need it.

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