An abortion is a medical procedure that is carried out to end a pregnancy. Every year, just under 200,000 women in England and Wales have a termination. Abortion treatments are available on the NHS. At least one third of British women will have had an termination by the time they are 45.
There are several types of termination. The treatment used depends upon the length of the pregnancy and the client’s medical history. These methods include:
- Early medical (abortion-pill) – available up to 9 weeks
- Surgical (with local anaesthetic) – available up to 10 weeks
- Surgical (by general anaesthetic) – available up to 18 weeks
- Sterilisation – available up to 14 weeks
Abortion and the law
Abortion is legal in England, Scotland and Wales (but not Northern Ireland) under the Abortion Act 1967 and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. The law says you can have an termination if:
- You are less than 24 weeks pregnant
- Two doctors agree that it would cause less damage to your physical or mental health (or that of existing children) than continuing with the pregnancy
Our clinicians are bound by the regulations and legislation of the Abortion Act 1967. Our doctors will only agree to perform terminations for reasons that are within the law. We do not sanction abortion based on the gender of a foetus.
Terminations after 24 weeks are only available in exceptional circumstances.
NUPAS operates up to 17 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy.
Guidelines for doctors state that women should not have to wait more than 2 weeks from the first referral to the time of your termination.
If the doctor you see does not refer women for a termination because of moral objections, the British Medical Association and the Department of Health have ruled that they must refer you to another doctor.
It is a requirement of the Abortion Act 1967 that, within 14 days of an termination, form HSA4 duly signed by the registered practitioner who performed the treatment must be submitted to the Chief Medical Officer. The HSA4 is used by the Department of Health to monitor compliance and also to produce government statistics.
All data statistics is anonymised.
Where to go for an termination
In the UK, terminations can only be carried out in a hospital or licensed clinic. Most terminations at NUPAS are NHS-funded but availability for funding varies from region to region. Please contact one of our clinics direct to find out whether your treatment can be NHS funded.
You can access our services direct, via Family Planning clinic, your local Brook centre, or your own GP.
0333 004 6666
Republic of Ireland: (01) 874 0097
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