Roe Vs Wade: what this means for Women in britain

By Lucy May Ireland

On 24th June, the US Supreme Court announced its decision to overturn Roe Vs Wade- the landmark law put in place in 1973 to give women the right to safe, legal abortion care.


36 million US women are predicted to have lost their right to choose, with each state now being able to choose whether abortion is legal. As a result, 26 states are expected to introduce anti-abortion laws.


Women across the world took to the streets to protest, sharing their rage and anguish and doing their part on social media by sharing information on how US women could access abortion care going forwards.



Since the events in the US, campaigners have warned that the overturning of Roe Vs Wade could have a devastating impact on abortion rights in the UK.


Conservative MP for Devizes, and son of The Great British Bake Off's Prue Leith, said in Parliament that he would "probably disagree" with other MPs about the US Supreme Court decision as "they think women have a right to absolute bodily autonomy", whereas he thinks "in the case of abortion that right is qualified by the fact that another body is involved." Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has also previously said that he is “completely opposed” to women having the right to abortion, while other Tory MPs have called to reduce the time limit on abortions.


In May of this year, the Guardian reported groups of 'pro-life' protesters outside UK abortion clinics handing out religious leaflets and intentionally causing distress by calling patients "mummy" as they walked in, all with the goal of preventing these women and girls from having abortions. The 'Society for the Protection of Unborn Children' who push 'pro-life' propaganda on young people are active in hundreds of schools and colleges in the UK. This includes their "Tiny Feet Club" where volunteers give anti-choice talks in primary schools.


@gemma_clark14 on Twitter highlighted in a petition that Scotland, England and Wales had not completely decriminalised abortion. In the UK, abortion isn’t legal until it’s been signed off by two doctors, and takes place within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.


With the Supreme Court's decision on Roe Vs Wade enabling anti-choice ideas, many of which have proved to be present in British politics and opinion, the question remains around how can we protect our abortion rights here in the UK:


1) Sign the BPAS petition "to send a clear signal that the UK does not support the removal of a woman’s right to access abortion care."


2) Join and donate to groups like Abortion Rights UK.


3) One of the most important things we can do is speak out, declare ourselves as pro-choice and talk about abortion rights. 9 out of 10 adults in the UK are pro-choice, but that doesn't protect our right to abortions by law. We need to campaign until abortion becomes a human right. We also need to unashamedly speak to men in our lives about abortion rights, as so many of them benefit from abortion but do not support women's right to choose publicly.


When I was young I got pregnant to a much older man who had no business being in a relationship with a teenager, but that's a story for another day. A member of staff at my school kindly drove me to the doctors one day so that I could discuss my options (I don't think she was technically allowed to do that but it was a kindness that I really needed that day). Sitting in the waiting room I was nervous, I felt guilty, I hoped that the doctor would believe me when I explained that I'd only forgotten to take a couple of my pills and that I didn't mean for this to happen, that I couldn't tell anybody because I felt very unsure of my support network and didn't ordinarily share anything with them.


When I was called in I explained my situation and to my surprise the lady doctor tried to convince me not to get abortion advice, she tried to convince me that I was from a decent home and that I was in a relationship with my then boyfriend (she was completely aware of the inappropriate age gap) and that I was equipped, in my school uniform, to raise a baby. Although everybody else that I came into contact with was very sympathetic, supportive and honest, I feel like if people like this exist within the system then women's abortion rights are being attacked every day. I am so thankful for the NHS and the amazing job that the doctors and nurses I saw did. They prepared me for every eventuality, offered me counselling and made sure that I had aftercare in place. I want all women and girls to have access to safe abortion.


If you have someone in your life who needs abortion care, please check out self.com's checklist of ways to support them here and check out the abortion overview on the NHS website.