Available Open Access under CC-BY-NC licence.
The public and parliamentary debate about UK abortion law reform is often diverted away from key moral and political questions by dispute regarding basic questions of fact. And all too often, claims of scientific ‘fact’ are ideologically driven.
But what effect would decriminalisation be likely to have on women’s health? What would be the impact on the incidence of abortions? Would decriminalisation equate to deregulation, sweeping away necessary restrictions on dangerous or malicious conduct?
With each chapter written by leading experts in the fields of medicine, law, reproductive health and social science, this book offers a concise and authoritative account of the evidence regarding the likely impact of decriminalisation of abortion in the UK.
Sally Sheldon is Professor of Law at the University of Kent. Her research interests are primarily in health care law and ethics and the legal regulation of gender. In 2017, Sheldon was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, in recognition of her pioneering socio-legal research, particularly in the area of abortion law.
Kaye Wellings is Professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Wellings and her team undertook the first global study of sexual behaviour, based on analysis of data from 59 countries, and a programme of research to evaluate England's teenage pregnancy strategy —both studies were published in The Lancet in 2006. Wellings was also elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2017.
Introduction: what would it mean to decriminalise abortion? ~ Sally Sheldon and Kaye Welling
Is public opinion in support of decriminalisation? ~ Ann Marie Gray and Kaye Wellings
How would decriminalisation impact on women’s health? ~ Patricia Lohr, Jonathan Lord and Sam Rowlands
Would decriminalisation mean the deregulation of abortion services? ~ Jonathan Herring, Emily Jackson and Sally Sheldon
What would be effects of decriminalisation in Northern Ireland? ~ Marie Fox and Goretti Horgan
How would decriminalisation impact on the incidence of abortion? ~ Ronnie Johnson, Louise Keogh and Wendy Norman