This two-day conference marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of The Abortion Act through Parliament on 27 October 1967. It will take place on 24-25 October 2017 at the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and is sponsored by the Wellcome Trust. The Centre for Health, Law and Society is proud to be collaborating with the Universities of Kent and Leeds, and bpas, in the organisation of this prestigious event.

The The Abortion Act 1967 (The Act) represented the fulfilment of over thirty years of sustained campaigning by the Abortion Law Reform Association, reflecting a liberalising reform agenda that sought to promote public health and address social inequality. At the same time, the Act was embedded in extant nineteenth-century criminal law responses to abortion, and was shaped by a medical model for its management.


The conference aims to address a range of important socio-legal, historical, political and clinical practice-based questions, focusing on the hopes and strategies of the broad coalition (made up of disparate constituencies) in favour of liberalising change and the extent to which they have been realised.

The conference will bring together and foster discussion between health care professionals, academics, policy makers, politicians, campaigners and service providers from the UK and a small number of other jurisdictions influenced by the Abortion Act.

Abortion Act 1967

An Act to amend and clarify the law relating to termination of pregnancy by registered medical practitioners.

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