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The law on abortion

A judges gavel on a desk.
In England, Scotland and Wales:
  • Abortions must be carried out in a hospital or a clinic approved by the Department of Health such as those run by Marie Stopes International or the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.
  • Up to 24 weeks of pregnancy a woman who wants a safe abortion can have one legally with the agreement of two doctors.
  • These two doctors need to agree that your abortion is necessary for your mental and/or physical health.
  • It is not legal to have an abortion in Northern Ireland other than in the most exceptional of circumstances.
  • A legal abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy is extremely rare and can only take place if the mother's life is in serious danger from the pregnancy or if there is something seriously wrong with the baby.
  • A girl under 16 can give consent to having an abortion without telling her parents if both doctors believe that she fully understands what is involved. But,if possible, it is always best to talk to parents about having an abortion, whatever your age. You may think that they may go ballistic, and they may, but they will be supportive in the end, and it is support that you will need and want in the long run.