THE BRITISH PREGNANCY ADVISORY SERVICE (BPAS) has commented on the appointment of Thérèse Coffey as UK Secretary of State for Health.

On 7 September, Clare Murphy, Chief Executive of BPAS, said: “Every politician is entitled to hold their own opinion on abortion. But what matters is whether they would let their own personal convictions stand in the way of women’s ability to act on their own.

“Earlier this year, the new Health Secretary voted to revoke access to at-home abortion care, and recriminalise women who end their own pregnancies without the approval of two doctors. In doing so, Thérèse Coffey voted against the advice of leading medical bodies including Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives and the BMA. To have a Health Secretary who would place their personal beliefs above expert clinical guidance is deeply concerning.

“In the wake of Roe v Wade, and at a time when women in many countries are still struggling to achieve abortion rights, we need the UK to be a beacon for women’s reproductive choice. There are currently two women facing up to life imprisonment for trying to end their own pregnancies in England. Anti-abortion protest activity is escalating, with women and clinic staff facing intimidation while seeking to access and provide an NHS-funded service. Every week, women with complex medical conditions are forced to continue pregnancies against their will because of a lack of appointments within NHS hospital settings. We need a Health Secretary who wants to improve access to a medical procedure that one in three women will need in their lifetime, not impose further restrictions.

“We are a pro-choice country, and we have a pro-choice parliament. BPAS, alongside other women’s charities and healthcare bodies, will continue to work with parliamentarians to advance abortion rights regardless of which MPs form the next Cabinet.”

* Source: British Pregnancy Advisory Service