Thursday, 26 April 2007

Late abortions

The University of Southampton has just published a study on the reasons behind late abortion. It seems that there are a number of different reasons, but one that is noticeable is that many did not realise they were pregnant for quite a while.

The reasons given for this were:

  • Irregular periods
  • Using contraception
  • Continued having periods
So, if there are any other delays, such as being unable to make an appointment with her own doctor; waiting for a consultation; the wait between appointment and abortion, these, added to the delay in realisation of pregnancy, may well turn a straightforward early abortion into a late one.

Coupled with this is the problem of finding doctors who are willing and able to perform abortions, which has been widely reported as I mentioned in an earlier post. It was also covered well by the NHS Blog Doctor in NHS Blog Doctor: Libby Purves joins the abortion debate from a doctor's point of view. This can only lead to still further delays and if the law is tightened there could be repercussions for many women.

If things continue as they are, we may yet need the services of the Dutch abortion ship as discussed on the f-word and The Times. This ship became headline news when it was blocked from entering Portuguese waters to collect women for abortions. There is some speculation that this led to the relaxing of Portuguese abortion laws. The ship effectively had its licence removed by the right-wing Dutch government in 2004 by banning it from sailing beyond a 15 mile radius of a Dutch hospital, but the government has now been replaced and the licence has been given back . It can perform abortions up to only 7 weeks of pregnancy but they are hoping to have this extended to 12 weeks.

The only EU country which no longer allows abortion is Malta, with Ireland and Poland having very strict conditions.


  1. If obtaining late abortions is problematic, how would a 'ship' that only does early ones help?

  2. Sorry, it's the way my mind leaps ahead. When I said "If things continue .." I meant if they keep chipping away at the upper limit of legal abortions it could eventually become so early that we may well need the services of the ship.

  3. And, I forgot to add, if doctors continue to be reluctant to perform abortions it could accelerate the process even more.


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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