Punished for pills

Abortion shouldn’t be a crime.

Join the campaign

Punished for pills

Abortion shouldn’t be a crime.

Join the campaign

Punished for pills

Under a law passed in 1861, any woman in England and Wales who ends her own pregnancy – from the moment she misses her period – can face up to life imprisonment. This includes women who use abortion medication purchased online. 

The 1967 Abortion Act did not decriminalise abortion but made it available in certain circumstances from specific locations. A woman must obtain legal authorisation from 2 doctors, unlike any other clinical procedure, and it must be performed in a hospital or clinic specifically approved by the Government. Clinics may be some distance from where women live, and while many will be able to access a legal service, some feel unable to do so. This includes women with caring responsibilities or who live in remote locations, women in abusive relationships who are worried their partners will find out if they attend an appointment, and young girls who are afraid to tell their parents. Any woman who ends her own pregnancy, using the same pills she would obtain in a clinic, risks life in prison.

Other comparable countries do not threaten women with prison for ending their own pregnancies. Even Poland, where abortion is all but outlawed, does not prosecute women who cause their own abortions.

If you believe no woman should face prison for ending her own pregnancy, join the campaign NOW.