Beyond the Rights & Wrongs of Abortion: Access as a Question of Reproductive Justice

Thursday 21st (10:00) - Friday 22nd March 2013 (17:30)
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Workshop Leaders: Dr Sheelagh McGuinness and Frances Amery

Discussion of abortion law reform has tended to stagnate on questions of the ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ of abortion. While there are many important questions about the morality of abortion these tend not to be as successful at a policy level as the ink spilt in academic literature.

This workshop will bring together scholars from across the University of Birmingham with an interest in abortion policy. Specifically the workshop will address question of access to abortion services. This focus is important as it allows questions of ‘rightness’ and ‘wrongness’ to be marginalized and instead focuses on questions of access in situations where it has been decided that access to abortion is legitimate.

Complimenting the cohort of scholars from Birmingham will be leading individuals from third sector organization and academic institutions both within the UK and internationally. The aim of the workshop will be to establish a ‘Birmingham Agenda’ for research in the area of abortion policy and abortion provision.

Internal attendees:

Sheelagh McGuinness (School of Law)

Fran Amery (Politics)

Marie Fox (School of Law)

Jean McHale (School of Law)

Sonia-Harris Short (School of Law)

Steve Hewitt (Department of American and Canadian Studies)

Jeremy Williams (Department of Philosophy)

Heather Widdows (Department of Philosophy)

Stephen Bates (Department of Political Science and International Studies)

Nicola Smith (Department of Political Science and International Studies)

June Jones (School of Health & Population Sciences)

Jonathan Ives (School of Health & Population Sciences)

Jon Herrington (School of Health & Population Sciences)

Janesh Gupta (Medicine)

Arri Coomarasamy (Medicine)

Luis Cabrera (Politics)

Jenny Phillimore (Social Sciences)

Jill Steans (Polsis)

External attendees:

  • Johanna Westeson (Center for Reproductive Rights)
  • Priscilla Smith (Yale University)
  • Christabelle Sethna (University of Ottawa)
  • Lisa McDaid (Glasgow University)
  • Kate Guthrie (University of Hull)
  • Jayne Kavannagh (UCL/ University of Birmingham)
  • Representatives from British Pregnancy Advisory Service
  • Mandy Myers
  • Ann Furedi
  • Patricia Lohr
  • Representative from Women on Waves

Useful resources:

Abortion: Is it time to revisit the UK's laws? (4 February 2013, BBC News, UK)

Provisional Workshop Agenda 

Thursday 21st March 

13:00 – 13:45 Introduction & Agenda Setting

McGuinness & Amery

13:45 – 15:30 Legal Barrier to Access

Marie Fox (Abortion and the Criminal Law)

Johanna Westson (ECHR Jurisprudence)

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee Break

16:00  – 17:45 Practical Barrier to Access

Jayne Kavanagh (Medical Ethics Curriculum/ shortage of providers)

Lisa McDaid (Results of a Study- post 18 week abortion services in Scotland)

17:45 – 18:15 Roundtable Discussion and Summary of key points

19:30 Workshop Dinner

Friday 22nd March

9:15 Coffee and Welcome

9:30 – 11:15 Abortion services in a global context

Heather Widdows (Access & Development Aid)

Janesh Gupta (Provision of abortion services in developing countries)

11:15 – 13:00 Abortion: Immigration & Asylum

Mandy Myers (TBC)

Sheelagh McGuinness (TBC)

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15.45 Abortion Methods

Priscilla Smith (Lessons from the USA – Partial birth abortion/ informed consent/ TRAP)

Ann Furedi (Misoprostol)

15:45 – 17:30 Future Research Agendas

Roundtable: ‘Establishing a Birmingham Research Agenda’

Led by McGuinness/ Amery/ Fox

Representative from IAS to discuss possible funding opportunities.

17:30 Close and Drinks Reception