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Research-based written evidence for UK Gov consultation on Women’s Health Strategy 2021
29th June 2021
In June 2021, the UK Department of Health and Social Care called for written evidence to inform the UK Government Women’s Health Strategy for England “to make women’s voices heard and put them at the centre of their own care”. The consultation was composed of two portions: a survey open to all women over 16 years old, and a call for researchers and third-sector organisation to produce written evidence on women’s health.
Based on our research project on abortion barriers and abortion travel, we produced a document where we list policy implications of our research findings and spell out policy recommendations on how to make access to abortion safer for pregnant people.
While we have focused on the research findings that better resonated with the current UK context, the policy implications we identify and the recommendations we draft are valid for all countries included in the Bar2legab research project, especially those that constituted the countries of residence of people travelling abroad or travelling across regions to obtain abortion care, and beyond.
It is important that all policy-makers and providers who are responsible for pregnant people’s health acknowledge the following:
- Pregnant people need clear, evidence-based online information about safe abortion in their language.
- Gestational age limits to access abortion constitute a barrier to pregnant people’s reproductive health. Erasing gestational age limits does not increase the number of abortions, but decreases health-related risks connected with illegal abortion or unwanted pregnancy.
- Pregnant people sometimes need to travel to terminate their abortion because adequate services are not available locally. Abortion travel constitutes an economic, social and mental health burden for pregnant people. Abortion travel may delay care, thus increasing health risks for pregnant women.
- Pregnant people have a better experience of abortion, if they can choose among the abortion method they prefer among the most updated and safe available. Otherwise, they may decide to travel to obtain the abortion method they feel more comfortable with.
Please feel free to download our written evidence document to know more about our findings and our policy recommendations: