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23rd January 2024

The RCOG and FSRH statement on the decriminalisation of abortion

At Karma Nirvana, we support our allies, the RCOG and FSRH, and welcome their statement on the decriminalisation of abortion.

At Karma Nirvana, we support our allies, the RCOG and FSRH, and welcome their statement on the decriminalisation of abortion. Our organisation works closely with individuals, particularly women, who often find themselves in vulnerable situations due to cultural, familial, or societal pressures, including cases where women seeking our support are also considering abortion. In such circumstances, the intersection of honour, cultural and societal pressures already pose a significant impact on choices and autonomy, making the additional legal pressures of requiring an abortion an unnecessary burden.

Criminalising abortion can disproportionately affect vulnerable women, and Karma Nirvana stands firmly against harmful practices that restrict women’s freedom. Our advocacy aligns with the call for the decriminalisation of abortion, and addressing legal constraints that may negatively impact women’s healthcare decisions.

While our primary focus is on combatting Honour Based Abuse and Forced Marriage, at Karma Nirvana, we are unwavering in our commitment to advocating for Women’s Rights. We firmly believe in empowering women to make choices about their own bodies and providing support to those facing challenging situations, rather than resorting to criminalisation.

In this country, abortion remains a criminal offence under a law dating back to the 1800s, carrying a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if you were to have an illegal abortion. You can be protected from prosecution if you have an abortion under certain circumstances, which requires two doctors to agree to the procedure, and for it to happen on certain premises. Outside of these circumstances, for example, by ordering abortion pills online, you risk being prosecuted. There may be circumstances where vulnerable women, such as those in an abusive situation, may order abortion pills online. However, we believe that these women should be supported and cared for, not imprisoned.