Recently, Marie Stopes UK published research into women aged 16-24 having one or more abortions [http://www.mariestopes.org/media/research-reveals-more-half-young-women-who-have-abortions-were-using-contraception-when-they].
Abortion Rights welcomes the research into the contraceptive use of women aged 16-24 who have one or more abortions. As the first research of its kind in the UK, it will serve as highly useful background information to providers of sexual health services in future.
The research highlights that only 12% of women had used emergency contraception. NICE’s recently published guidance [http://publications.nice.org.uk/contraceptive-services-with-a-focus-on-young-people-up-to-the-age-of-25-ph51] on sexual health provision for young people recommends allowing people to obtain emergency contraception in advance, so they are not reliant on being able to get to a GP or a pharmacist when they need it. Marie Stopes’ research backs up the position that emergency contraception should be made much more freely available, since accidents will always happen, and often they happen more than once. No form of contraception is infallible, after all.
Another point the research highlights is that a person’s needs and preferences around contraception will most likely change over time, and everyone deserves to have ready access to methods of contraception which suit their needs. Provision of abortion services is a vital part of the overall sexual health landscape and termination services must be freely available to all who need them, as well as suited to the communities using them.
As a prochoice organisation, Abortion Rights rejects any form of stigma around having more than one abortion. Every woman must be able to have as many abortions as she decides that she needs over the course of her life.
Marie Stopes’ detailed research into the varied and multiple reasons behind women’s need for abortions is good news for the prochoice movement. Now we call on the government to listen to the conclusion that more needs to be done to promote awareness of different forms of contraception. Everyone must be able to access the services they need without unnecessary barriers or stigma and the right to good sexual health and contraceptive services, including abortion, should not be subject to postcode lotteries.
See also this great post [http://rhmatters.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/repeat-abortion-is-it-really-a-problem/] from RHM Matters.