News Article12/12/2008

MSI defends Polish women's right to access abortion services in the UK

London - National newspapers this week (December 15th) have carried stories alleging the up to 10,000 Polish women every year are accessing abortions in the UK at a cost to the NHS of more than £10 million.

Marie Stopes International today (17th December0 confirmed its support for Polish women who are forced to go to the extreme of travelling to the UK to access safe abortion services.

“As is the case in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malta and other EU states, access to abortion is severely restricted in Poland,” said Liz Davies, Marie Stopes International’s UK and European Director. “Little wonder that, when faced with unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, these women will go to any lengths to end them, including travelling halfway across Europe. Any criticism should lie with those states that restrict women’s access to safe abortion, not with the women themselves.”

Ms Davies also criticised newspaper reports which implied that thousands of Polish women travelled to the UK exclusively to access abortion.

“There are many, many thousands of Polish women living, working and paying taxes in the UK. Inevitably some of these will fall pregnant and choose to terminate and they are fully entitled to access services on the NHS.

“From the records maintained on abortion, it is impossible to estimate what proportion of Polish women – if any – has entered the country under false pretences with the express purpose of getting an NHS abortion. It is divisive and unfair of the newspapers to make such claims.”

Marie Stopes International is the UK’s largest independent provider of abortion services, seeing one third of the entire annual caseload in England and Wales. The majority of the abortions MSI provides are carried out under under contract to the NHS.


Related categories: Abortion Advocacy & campaigning
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