The Guardian view on abortion law: the case for decriminalisation

The outrage caused by the jailing of a mother for ending her pregnancy after the legal limit should spark a wider rethink of archaic legislation.

The case of a mother prosecuted for inducing her own abortion after the legal limit is tragic. Her imprisonment is unconscionable. The judge accepted that she was in “emotional turmoil” when she ended her pregnancy at between 32 and 34 weeks: with lockdown imposed, she had moved back in with her estranged partner while carrying another man’s child and was seeking to hide the pregnancy. She has since experienced guilt and depression, and is plagued by nightmares and “flashbacks to seeing [her] dead child’s face”. Her three children, one of whom has special needs and is thus especially reliant upon her, will be denied her for the next 14 months.

Many have asked good questions about the decisions of prosecutors to pursue the case in these circumstances, and of the judge to impose a prison sentence. Nonetheless, as the judge identified, ultimately the issue is the law itself.

Read full opinion: The Guardian view on abortion law: the case for decriminalisation

Photo by danilo.alvesd on Unsplash

22 June, 2023
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United Kingdom

The Campaign to Decriminalise Poverty and Status is a coalition of organisations from across the world that advocate for the repeal of laws that target people based on poverty, status or for their activism.


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