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Just 50 years ago, abortion in Great Britain was illegal, hidden, and in many cases dangerously unsafe. The Abortion Act 1967 changed that - allowing millions of women to access legal abortion care and safely plan their families.

But 50 years on, what kind of abortion framework is suitable for women today? There is growing support for the decriminalisation of abortion, with numerous medical bodies and women's rights groups calling for abortion to be removed from the criminal law and regulated in the same way as all other medical procedures. Meanwhile, women in Northern Ireland continue to be denied abortion services in their home country, and anti-abortion clinic protests persist across the UK, threatening women's ability to access services.

Join BPAS, the Fawcett Society, and our panel of speakers to celebrate the anniversary of the Act, the successes of tireless campaigners - and to discuss where future reform is coming from and what it could look like.



Rachel Reeves MP - Rachel was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Leeds West in 2010 as the first female MP to represent a seat in Leeds since Alice Bacon, who served between 1945 and 1970. She has recently authored 'Alice in Westminster: The Political Life of Alice Bacon' - which details Alice Bacon's role as a Home Office minister in the 1960s as she oversaw the implementation of the Abortion Act.

Sam Smethers - Sam is the Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society and took up her post in 2015. Prior to that she was the Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus for over six years. She had previously worked for the Equal Opportunities Commission as their Director of Public Affairs and also has nine years experience of working in parliament. Fawcett support the campaign to decriminalise abortion and to introduce buffer zones around abortion clinics.

Clare Murphy - Clare is Director of External Affairs at BPAS. Previously a journalist at the BBC, she has led campaigns to provide abortions free of charge to women from Northern Ireland, reduce the cost of emergency contraception, and to remove abortion from the criminal law.

Cara Sanquest - Cara is a founding member of the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, which brings people in London together to campaign for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment in Ireland and the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland. She was credited as a 'Future Shaper' by Marie Claire in 2017, and in her professional life works in digital for charities and is currently studying for an LLM at Trinity College Dublin.

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