Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Changing Conversations about Time and Abortion?

As part of the AHRC funded Regulating Time research network, Sian Beynon-Jones recently organised a workshop, hosted by bpas (the British Pregnancy Advisory Service), which aimed to bring academics, health service providers, patient charities, pro-choice activists and health practitioners together to share knowledge and discuss regulatory issues involving time and abortion.

An upper time limit of 24 weeks’ gestation regulates the provision of most abortions in Scotland, England and Wales. Following repeated attempts to lower this limit, public discussion of abortion has become framed in terms of competing claims about the significance of a pregnancy's duration in weeks of gestation.

The workshop explored the possibility of generating alternative conversations about time and abortion. It featured presentations from academics engaged in sociological, historical and legal research which illustrates the hidden, complex, 'times’ of abortion in practice. Representatives of service providers, pro-choice advocacy organisations and patient charities offered their perspectives on the ways in which time and abortion are regulated and debated, as well as their expertise in  supporting women’s access to later gestation procedures. A summary of the key points which emerged from the workshop discussion is now available at the Regulating Time blog.

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