The fourth section of the current UK abortion law (1967 Abortion Act) states that health care practitioners (HCPs) do not have to participate in abortion if they have a conscientious objection (CO). A CO is a refusal to participate on the grounds of conscience. This may be informed by: religious, moral, philosophical, ethical, or personal beliefs.
This study proposes to understand individuals’ experiences of abortion and accessing abortion in the UK, explore whether they have experienced a HCP objecting, and the impact this has had on them. It will also gauge service users’ (individuals who have had an abortion) understandings and opinions of HCPs’ right to CO to abortion, and their opinions on what participation is, whilst giving voice to women and marginalised individuals at a time where these voices are largely excluded in the law making processes.
This research is a sub-study of ongoing research at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). Ongoing research at LJMU is investigating HCPs’ (Drs, Nurses, Midwives and Pharmacists) opinions on CO and what participation should be defined as. The findings from both studies will inform national guidelines.
This study aims to answer the following questions:
1. How do service users abortion journeys play out?
2. Has the fourth clause of the 1967 Abortion Act (conscience clause) affected service users’ reproductive rights in regard to access and experience of abortion? How?
3. How do individuals who have accessed/tried to access abortion situate themselves within academic debates? (Should we allow CO, should we regulated CO, Who should be allowed to CO and from what )
4. What do individuals who have accessed abortion understand as constituting ‘participation in abortion’?
We are no longer recruiting participants