Abortion Rights Blog

The national pro-choice campaign


27 October 2017


50 years today the 1967 Abortion Act was passed in Parliament. The Act took abortion out of the backstreet, particularly for poor and working-class women. Abortion Rights is grateful for the efforts and commitment of activists who were key to making this landmark Act possible.

This year, Abortion Rights has been at the forefront of celebrating the immeasurable social, economic and personal advances that the legislation has afforded women, and the end to often lethal backstreet abortions.

Kerry Abel, Abortion Rights Chair says:

“The 1967 Act is the most significant liberation for women since we won the vote. Today we‘re celebrating this historic achievement and tomorrow we continue the push for full access on request in the context of woman-centred abortion care with modern medical advances’

 ‘I call on all those that support a woman’s right to choose, to join with Abortion Rights to build a strong, broard and agile campaign.’

Despite it’s coming into practice on 27 April 1968 the Abortion Act remains embedded in a framework of criminal law sanctions with less relevance to the advances in medicine which have occurred in the last 50 years and the clinical practice of today.

On the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act, Abortion Rights is calling the Act to be updated in line with modern medicine and practice.

This would include matters such as:

  • Decriminalisation of abortion – taking this health care procedure out of the criminal law entirely;
  • Removal of the paternalistic and unnecessary two doctors’ signature;
  • Medical abortion pills to be administered in an extended range of clinical settings, by a wider group of clinical practitioners and consideration to be given to home-based medication.


 Notes to the Editor:

  1. Our media team would be happy to provide further quotes, press images, and information on request. Media contact Kerry Abel (07979 535 242) 
  2. One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime.
  3. Abortion Rights is the national pro-choice campaign, working to defend and extend abortion rights and provide a pro-choice voice to the media.
  4. Since 1967 the Abortion Act has enabled women to access abortions in England, Wales and Scotland. Women in Northern Ireland still have to travel abroad for abortion care, despite paying the same taxes for NHS provision.
  5. According to YouGov Poll, at least 70% of people support a woman’s right to choose.
  6. Medical abortion pills are one of the several methods of abortion recommended on the WHO Essential Medicines List.