Abortion

There are different laws in Northern Ireland and Jersey from the laws in England, Scotland and Wales. Please make sure you look at the correct part of this page

 In England, Scotland and Wales

Young people under 16 can have an abortion without their parent's consent if a doctor believes they have enough understanding of the decision they are making.

If you are under 16, a doctor or nurse will definitely encourage you to tell a parent/carer. If you don't feel able to do that, they will help you to find another adult, such as a different family member, or a specialist young worker, to help you.

At a Brook Centre the staff would never force you to tell your parents and they would never contact your parents without your permission.

Doctors and nurses have a duty not to give out information about you without your consent except in exceptional circumstances, like when a doctor or health worker thinks you might be in serious danger, but this rule applies however old you are.

Sometimes, a doctor may decide that a young person under 16 is not mature enough to make decisions about their treatment without their parent's or carer's involvement. They would encourage them to tell a parent before agreeing that they can have an abortion, but their visit would still be kept confidential.

If you are in any doubt you can always phone a service and ask them anonymously if they will see under 16s in confidence.

Anyone who is 16 or older does not need parental consent to have an abortion.

Abortion is legal in the UK up to 24 weeks of pregnancy although most abortions (90 per cent) are carried out before 13 weeks.

To arrange a free abortion on the NHS, the first step is to speak to a doctor or nurse at your local Brook Centre, young person's service, family planning clinic or your GP surgery.

There are different methods of abortion and the method used will depend on how far pregnant you are. Most abortion services will be able to offer you a choice of methods.

It's important to act quickly. The earlier you ask for an abortion the easier it is to get one for free on the NHS. There can be a waiting list of between 2 to 4 weeks, but how long you wait will depend on the waiting list for abortions in your area

 In Northern Ireland

Unfortunately, abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland. The only legal reason for a woman being allowed an abortion in Northern Ireland is when there is a serious risk to her mental or physical health and that risk is permanent or long-term.

This means that women in Northern Ireland can not arrange to have an abortion there. However, there is the option of travelling over to England , Scotland or Wales and arranging an abortion there.

Unfortunately, this means that women coming from Northern Ireland aren't entitled to NHS treatment and have to pay to have an abortion at a private clinic.

If you're in Northern Ireland and you are thinking of having an abortion, you will need to contact a private abortion service, like Marie Stopes on 0845 300 80 90 or the BPAS on 08457 30 40 30.

These services can also give advice and emotional support to help with the additional difficulties of travelling from Northern Ireland to arrange an abortion. Both of BPAS and Marie Stopes have abortion clinics all over the UK .

You can get confidential advice and counselling from the FPA in Northern Ireland by telephoning 0845 1228687 or, if you are under 19, from the Brook service in Belfast.

 In Jersey

In Jersey it is legal to have an abortion if two doctors agree that one of the following applies:

a) The woman is no more than 12 weeks pregnant and it is causing her distress

b) The woman is no more than 24 weeks pregnant and the baby is suffering from a severe incurable abnormality which would cause it to be born with the expectation of an exceedingly poor quality of life.

c) An abortion is necessary to save the woman' s life or to prevent grave permanent injury to her physical or mental health.

If you are under 21 you can drop into Brook in Jersey or call them on 01534 507981.

Related Articles

  • Useful links

    Useful Links If you haven't found what you're looking for on the Brook web site, you may find the


My Contraception Tool

Check out the new My Contraception Tool

A-Z of sex

Find out who won the UK Sexual Health Awards!

Brook & FPA's campaign

Education For Choice

Say YES to 21st century SRE

Your view

This is a quick comments box we cannot reply.