British abortion laws outdated?

A mother of three in the UK was sentenced to more than two years in prison on Wednesday after using medication she received under the "pills by post" scheme during the Covid Lockdown to induce an abortion in the 32nd week of pregnancy. The procedure was legal only until the 10th week. Opinions differ widely on whether the sentence is just or too harsh.

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The Times (GB) /

Provide support instead of criminalisation

An outdated law based on a fundamentally misguided approach was applied in this case, The Times criticises:

“This woman is no threat to society. She could have received a non-custodial sentence and community service. As with many women in jail, her greatest failing is her mental health - in her case, her fear of having another child and, as she admitted in court, a strained relationship with her partner. ... What women need is easy access to female healthcare, improved maternity services and mental health provision, guidance and help, not shaming with a 19th-century act that treats them as dangerous criminals because of their reproductive organs.”

The Spectator (GB) /

Relaxing the rules is not the way to go

Commenting in The Spectator, Melanie McDonagh disagrees with the outcry over the sentence being too harsh:

“What this unhappy case shows is that the relaxation of the rules during Covid, since extended, is as unwise as pro-life groups said it would be. Women can get the gestational age of their baby wrong, wilfully or through ignorance. ... This is a sad, wretched case, but not a miscarriage of justice. And those feminists who would like to allow women abortions at any time they like should consider the question I put at the start: how do you distinguish between abortion that late, and infanticide?”