£7 – £22

Doctors for Choice UK: how clinicians can shape the future of abortion care

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time



Lecture theatre 2

Cruciform Building

Gower Street



United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

Refund Policy

No Refunds

Event description


Doctors for Choice UK: how clinicians can shape the future of abortion care

Doctors for Choice UK marks the 50th anniversary of the implementation of the 1967 Abortion Act and celebrates half a century of safe abortion in mainland UK by looking at past, present and future abortion care and considering the ways clinicians can influence the next 50 years of abortion provision throughout the UK.


9.45 - Registration

Morning chair: Alison Wright, RCOG Vice President for UK and Global Membership

10.00 - Welcome and housekeeping, Jayne Kavanagh

10.05 - 50 years of abortion provision, Colin Francome, Wendy Savage and Geetha Subramanian

10.55 - Inspiring and training future abortion clinicians, Jayne Kavanagh, Patricia Lohr and Sean Rees

11.40 - Comfort break

11.50 - Doctors in the line of fire and why it's still worth it, Peter Greenhouse, Claudine Domoney and Prabha Sivaraman

13.00 - Break for lunch

Afternoon chair: Wendy Savage, Doctors for Choice UK Co-Chair

14.00 - Anti-choice attacks on the abortion law: why it’s time for decriminalisation across the UK, Emily Jackson, Clare Parker and Sally Sheldon

14.50 - What does the future hold for later abortion and conscientious objection? Jane Fisher, Rich Lyus, Marge Berer and Jane Hatfield

15.55 - Comfort break

16.05 - Campaigners and doctors working together, Lisa Hallgarten (Brook), Katherine O’Brien (bpas), Kerry Abel (Abortion Rights) and Hayley Webb (Doctors for Choice UK)

16.55 - Closing remarks, Wendy Savage

17.00 - End of conference

17.15 - Drinks reception and official launch of Doctors for Choice UK

In order to keep the cost down, refreshments and lunch will not be provided although the drinks reception will be free. We will recommend places to eat within walking distance of UCL or you can bring your own packed lunch.

Ten £50 travel bursaries are available to medical students from outside London. Students should email doctorsforchoiceuk@gmail.com with 250 words about why they want to attend the conference, by the end of March. The 10 successful applicants will be notified by 9 April 2018.

Speaker Profiles

Marge Berer

Marge Berer has been the Coordinator of the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion since May 2015. She founded and was the editor of the journal Reproductive Health Matters (October 1992-April 2015). She was a co-founder and Steering Committee chair of the International Consortium for Medical Abortion (2002-2011). She is active in Voice for Choice, the UK coalition of pro-choice organisations, and was its chair from 2007 to 2010. She was the first chairwoman of the Gender Advisory Panel, WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research, from 1996 to 2001, and a member of the International Women’s Advisory Panel of the International Planned Parenthood Federation from 1993-98. She has been working in the UK and internationally since 1976 as an advocate for abortion rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights. She published a book on women, HIV and sexual and reproductive health in 1993-95, and has published many articles, especially on abortion rights, maternal mortality, and SRHR. She has a blog (Berer Blog), regularly gives presentations to conferences and visiting lectures for post-graduate courses, and has been organising small international conferences since the 1980s.

Jane Fisher

Jane Fisher joined ARC in 2001 as Support Co-ordinator and became Director in 2004. Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC) is a UK-wide charity with a remit to provide non-directive information and support to parents throughout antenatal testing and when fetal anomaly is diagnosed. Help is offered for as long as is needed whatever decision is made about the future of the pregnancy. ARC also runs a well-established training programme for health professionals working in the field.

As well as managing the charity, Jane is also involved in directly supporting parents, training health professionals, research, policy and media work. She represents service users on the UK National Screening Committee, Fetal Maternal and Child Health Group of the UK NSC and is a member of the NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme Advisory group. She is also a Patient and Public Voice Representative on the NHS England Clinical Reference Group for Women’s Services. Jane has a particular interest in women’s experience of termination for fetal anomaly.


Fisher, J., & Lafarge, C. (2015). Women's perceptions of care when undergoing termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology; 33(1), 69-87. doi: 10.1080/02646838.2014.970149

Fisher, J., Lohr, P. A., Lafarge, C., Robson, S. C. (2014). Termination for fetal anomaly - are women in England given a choice of method? Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Jul 24:1-5. doi:10.3109/01443615.2014.940291

Fisher J., First-trimester screening: dealing with the fall-out. Prenat Diagn 2011;31:46–49.

Fisher, J., & Statham, H., Chapter 18 Parental reaction to prenatal diagnosis and subsequent bereavement in Rodeck, CH and whittle MJ, Eds, Fetal Medicine – Basic Science and Clinical Practice Second Edition (Elsevier) 2009 234 -242

Fisher, J., Chapter 15 New Advances in prenatal genetic testing: the parent perspective in Kehoe S, Chitty LS and Homfray T Eds, Reproductive Genetics (RCOG) 2009 199 – 204

Fisher, J., Termination of Pregnancy for Fetal Abnormaliity: The perspective of a parent support organisation Reproductive Health Matters Volume 16, Issue 31, Supplement, (May 2008) 57 – 68

Colin Francome, Emeritus Professor, Middlesex University

Colin joined the executive of the Abortion law Reform Association in 1976 and since that time has carried out over 15 opinion polls on abortion. When the Pope visited Britain he was greeted with a poll which showed that over nine out of ten Catholics disagreed with his views on contraception and abortion. It was covered on the front page of the Independent on Sunday.

Colin has written five books on abortion. The first documented the worldwide change in the laws. The most recent 'Unsafe Abortion and Women's Health' documents the need for women to have access to safe abortion facilities.

Colin sometimes works as an entertainer and led the campaign for women to be admitted to the Magic Circle. This was successful in 1991.

Colin has helped organise a new poll for the anniversary of the Act.

Prof. Emily Jackson MA FBA OBE.

Emily Jackson is a Professor of Law and Vice-Chair of the Academic Board at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is the author of Medical Law (4thedition, OUP 2016), and writes on reproduction, mental capacity, assisted dying and the regulation of medicines. She is a member of the British Medical Association Medical Ethics Committee. From 2014-17, she was a Judicial Appointments Commissioner, and before that, she was a member and then Deputy Chair of the HFEA (2003-2012).

Dr Jayne Kavanagh

Dr Jayne Kavanagh is a sexual and reproductive health specialty doctor in North London and the medical ethics lead at UCL Medical School. She set up and leads UCL’s widening participation project Target Medicine and medical student sexual and reproductive rights action group Viva la Vulva. She is co-chair of Doctors for Choice UK, medical director of the Campaign for Contraception and a council member of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. She works with local activists and teachers, academics and clinicians on contraception, abortion and equality, diversity and inclusion related projects, and contributes to relationship and sex education in London schools.

Patricia A. Lohr, MD MPH FACOG FFSRH (Hons)

Patricia Lohr has been the Medical Director of British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) since 2007. She is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist who completed her post-graduate training at the Los Angeles County-Harbor UCLA Medical Centre followed by a fellowship in Family Planning & Contraceptive Research at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr Lohr is a firm believer that a permissive legal framework is not sufficient to ensure access to abortion; skilled, willing providers are essential. Creating educational opportunities in abortion care has been a passion since medical school when, as an organiser for Medical Students for Choice, she successfully lobbied to have abortion included in the obstetrics and gynaecology rotation. In her current post, Dr Lohr oversees observerships and hands-on training for medical and nuse/midwifery students, post-graduates and practicing clinicians at BPAS clinics. She assists in the delivery of the module on abortion care for medical students at University College London, is Guardian of the special skills module in abortion care for the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), and has recently worked with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) to revise their abortion curriculum. Dr Lohr is a co-founder and treasurer for the British Society of Abortion Care Providers (BSACP) and organises the RCOG/FSRH/BSACP Manual Vacuum Aspiration course twice a year.

Richard Lyus

Richard qualified as a medical doctor in 2005 and now works in women's health at Homerton University Hospital in London, where he helps run a referral service for women requesting abortion who have medical problems that might complicate the procedure. He is currently completing a PhD in the School of Humanities at The University of Brighton, writing about fetuses, pregnancy, and the problems of bioethical discourse, with reference to the work of Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben, Barbara Johnson, and JM Coetzee.

Tracey Masters, FRCOG, FFSRH, DIPM

Since 2012 Dr Tracey Masters has worked as a Consultant in Sexual and Reproductive Health Care at the Homerton University Hospital NHS FT and is proud to lead its abortion service, and be part of the Homerton Sexual Health team serving the diverse population of Hackney in East London.

Tracey trained in London in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and completed subspecialty training in Community Gynaecology (RCOG) in 2000, and then worked in Bristol for many years in a wide variety of post within various sexual health, women’s health and young people’s services.

Tracey’s areas of expertise include intrauterine contraception and abortion care. She is a founding Council member of the British Society of Abortion Care Providers launched in 2015.

She has been involved with FSRH support for the Specialty Training Programme of Community Sexual & Reproductive Health since it was established in 2010. She is currently is the Vice President (Specialty) of FSRH and co-chairs the FSRH Education Strategy Board.

Katherine O’Brien

Katherine is Head of Media and Policy Research at bpas.

Dr Clare Parker BA (Hons) Spanish and History, B. Music Studies, and a PhD in History, all from the University of Adelaide.

Dr Clare Parker is a postdoctoral Research Associate in the Kent Law School at the University of Kent, where she is working on the AHRC-funded grant, ‘The Abortion Act (1967): A Biography’. Clare is an interdisciplinary historian whose research focuses on the governance of sex and sexuality in the twentieth century. Her publications and teaching have spanned social, medical and legislative history, and contemporary politics, and she is currently writing two books: The Abortion Act 1967: A Biography of a UK Law (with Gayle Davis, Jane O’Neill and Sally Sheldon) and Sex and the State: Abortion, Homosexuality and the Sexual Revolution in South Australia.

Dr Prabha Sivaraman FRCOG MFSRH Dip GUM

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist North Manchester General Hospital

I run the teenage pregnancy clinic and a general gynaecology service in a diverse and deprived part of Manchester. I have an active contribution towards undergraduate and post-graduate medical education and regularly run CPD workshops for colleagues.

As an intern in India, I witnessed maternal mortality in a sixteen-year-old girl due to septic abortion because of a lack of adequate access to safe abortion services. What affected me even more was the judgmental attitude of healthcare workers and fellow professionals - this is something I have observed wherever I have worked. As we grow into a more refined and inclusive society, women live in a safer world.

It is my belief that it is every woman’s right to choose what happens to her body (whether it is the treatment of disease, or the continuation of a pregnancy) within the legal framework of society. My place, as a clinician, is to present her with the options.

Wendy Savage MBBCh(Cantab) FRCOG MSc (Public Health) Hon DSc

Retired Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant, The Royal London Hospital

Hon Professor Middlesex University, Department of Health and Education

Press Officer and Co-ordinator of Doctors for a Woman’s Choice on Abortion(DWCA) from 1977-2017 now Co-chair of Doctors for Choice (DfC), President of Keep Our NHS Public, BMA Council member, Public Governor Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust

During my career I worked in the USA doing research, Nigeria and Kenya where I saw women dying from unsafe abortion and New Zealand where I set up an abortion service despite the law being like it was in GB before 1967. When I returned to the UK in 1976 I worked with the late Professor Huntingford and joined DWCA. We set up a successful Day Care Abortion Service at the Mile End Hospital.

Research interests: Abortion and Caesarean Section

I will present the statistics about abortion in GB since 1968 and show how provision has moved from the NHS to the independent sector, which has training implications.

Professor Sally Sheldon FAcSS, BA (hons) in English and French Law from Kent, and a PhD from the European University Institute..

She is a health care lawyer, based at Kent Law School

She has written widely in the area of health care law and ethics, including a book on abortion law, Beyond Control: Medical Power and Abortion Law (1997). She has recently completed a project on the legal issues raised by abortion pills, How Can a State Control Swallowing? Medical Abortion and the Law (2014 - 2016 (AHRC AH/L006537/1)); and is currently working with three historians on a two year historical study of the Abortion Act, The Abortion Act (1967): A Biography (2016 –2018, AHRC, AH/N00213X/1). She is a trustee of bpas.

Dr. Geetha Subramanian MBE, Honorary Consultant Community Gynaecologist,

Barts Health NHS Trust, London

A graduate from South India, trained in O&G in London Royal Free Hospital and became a Member of the Royal College of Obstetricians in 1979 and then a Fellow. From 1986 worked as community gynaecologist in the borough of Tower Hamlets as Head of Service from 1990 and then as a consultant from 1995 until retirement in 2013.

Established a centre of excellence for providing specific clinical services for the women and young people of Tower Hamlets.

Made significant changes to service delivery in the areas of family planning, termination of unplanned pregnancy, young people’s sexual health and female genital mutilation (FGM). Established the first and only community-based early medical abortion service in London, which is thriving.

With a specific team for reaching young people for education on contraception and STIs, helping them access services managed to achieve significant reduction in teenage pregnancies in the borough.

Having identified issues around FGM among the local Somali population established specific clinical session for the management of survivors of FGM in 1991.

In recognition of the continued, significant contribution in the field of Women and Young People’s Health in Tower Hamlets, was selected in 2007 for the ‘Asian Women of Achievement’ award followed by MBE in the Queen’s New Year honours list in 2013. In May 2017 at the Centenary conference of Medical Women’s Federation was honoured with the award of best senior established doctor.

After retirement, has been appointed as patron of the Charity, Women’s Health & Family Services in Tower Hamlets. As Honorary Consultant at Barts Health Trust continues to be involved in teaching and training health care workers, other professionals, teachers and school children in issues around FGM.

Dr Hayley Webb MBChB, DFSRH, DRCOG

Dr Webb is a GP trainee in North West London. Previous experience, working in sexual health and contraception, as well as abortion care in various London clinics. Involved in delivering abortion care teaching programme at UCLH. Secretary for Doctors for Choice UK.

Sean Rees

Sean Rees is fourth year medical student at UCL. While at medical school he has been involved in a number of projects that aim to engage students in a range of equalities issues that include women’s sexual and reproductive health, the rights of LGBT+ people and widening-access to medical school.

Sean’s main interest is women’s health, and he hopes to specialise in Community Sexual and Reproductive Health. He helped set up Viva la Vulva, an award-winning UCL medical student political action group, which aims to engage students in issues that are integral to women’s health that range from abortion rights and access, to domestic violence and sexual exploitation. With this group, Sean has designed and delivered teaching sessions for young people in local schools, delivered a session at last year’s Festival of Choice on how medical education could be improved to ensure that future doctors can contribute to the global fight for reproductive justice, as well as organising events at UCL that raised the level of discourse and debate around women’s reproductive health. He is Student Representative for Doctors for Choice.

Share with friends

Date and Time


Lecture theatre 2

Cruciform Building

Gower Street



United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

Save This Event

Event Saved