23 September 2021
Clare Murphy, Chief Executive of BPAS said:
“We support today’s High Court verdict.
“There is no contradiction between a society which champions the rights of disabled people and one which allows women to make difficult decisions in heartbreaking situations.
“The legal challenge, which was dismissed by the High Court today, did not seek to revoke access to abortion care solely in cases of a diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome. The aim of this case was to remove women’s ability to end what are often much-wanted pregnancies post-24 weeks due to diagnoses of any “non-fatal” fetal anomalies. This would force women to continue pregnancies where there may be multiple complex conditions and outcomes are unclear.
“If successful, this case could have had far-reaching implications. The claimants argued in Court that foetuses should have human rights – this has never been decided in law and would go against many years of legal precedent in the UK. It was a full-frontal attack on pregnant women’s rights, not just to abortion but to making their own decisions during childbirth.
“We need a legal framework which supports women’s choices to continue or end a pregnancy in these extremely challenging circumstances, and it is right that today’s court decision endorsed that.”
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BPAS is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, which seeks to develop and deliver a research agenda that furthers women’s access to evidence-based reproductive healthcare, driven by an understanding of women’s perspectives and needs. You can find out more here: https://www.bpas.org/get-involved/centre-for-reproductive-research-communication/
Later in 2021, BPAS will launch England’s first not-for-profit fertility service, to provide ethical, evidence-based, person-centred care that supports patients. We will provide a safe, high-quality, and accessible service, without profiteering from patients. Our service will give those ineligible for NHS funding an affordable option to access the care they need.