Abortion stories from real women, ages 24-86

Exactly 50 years ago today, the 1967 abortion law was passed. This meant that for the first time in Britain, a woman could legally have an abortion without facing life imprisonment.

Millions of women have been able to have abortions since then, and one in three women is now expected to have a pregnancy termination in her lifetime. Last year, 190,406 abortions were performed in England and Wales – a relatively constant figure in recent years – on women aged 15 to 44.

Each experience will have been different. For some, having an abortion is an immediate decision with few regrets. For others, it will be a complex process that will result in mixed feelings. Some women may continue to regret it all, while others will never think about it again.

Having an abortion is a personal and individual decision that women can make for themselves in England, Wales and Scotland. Ireland is due to hold a referendum on the issue next year, while a legal challenge was heard in the Supreme Court this week to legalize abortion for Northern Irish women in cases of rape, incest or severe fetal abnormality.

To mark half a century since the act, we’ve collected some very personal abortion stories from women aged 24 to 86. Some have agreed to be named, others are anonymous.

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