A Bitter Pill: Back Street Abortions

By Lindsey Last edited 136 months ago
A Bitter Pill: Back Street Abortions

It may be 40 years since the Abortion Act legalised terminations but a BBC Radio 5 Live investigation suggests that modern day "back street abortions" are easily found in London.

Thankfully, we're not talking struck off doctors and knitting needles but Chinese herbal remedies from shops in Dalston and illegally obtained abortion drugs: an undercover investigator was able to get their hands on 14 abortion pills for £30 from an entirely unqualified bloke in a West London cafe who'd had them smuggled in from Poland.

While it is possible to get an abortion on the NHS, some women cannot or will not (illegal immigrants, for example). Many of these cannot afford to pay or go private. For example, women from the Isle of Man, where abortion is still illegal, are stuck if they cannot afford to travel to the mainland and pay up to £1500 for the procedure.

With campaigns like Alive and Kicking pushing to halve the number of abortions performed in the UK by cracking down on the legal conditions that permit them, this should be an alarming but timely broadcast to pay attention to.

The Five Live Report goes out on Sunday at 11am and will be available to download as a podcast after the broadcast.

Image courtesy of robotson's Flickrstream.

Last Updated 23 November 2007