London Declaration of Prochoice Principles
In September 2012, Jon O’Brien of Catholics for Choice and Ann Furedi of the UK abortion provider bpas convened an international meeting of abortion providers, advocates and academics at Chandos House in London to talk about what it means to be prochoice.
The statement from the meeting is being discussed in the prochoice community around the world to foster reflection, conversation and our understanding of what it means to support choice.
We believe in a woman’s autonomy and her right to choose whether to continue or end a pregnancy. Every woman should have the right to decide the future of her pregnancy according to her conscience, whatever her reasons or circumstances. A just society does not compel women to continue an undesired pregnancy.
We recognize that support for choice in itself is not enough. Access to abortion is an integral part of women’s reproductive health care, and we believe in the right to receive this. Women need access to resources and services, including the counsel of the professionals, friends and family they choose to involve. Legal, political, social and economic changes are necessary to allow the exercise of reproductive choice, and a commitment to such changes is part of a commitment to choice.
We express solidarity with those who provide abortion care, and we recognize the moral value of their work. We recognize and respect that some health care personnel may choose not to provide abortions, but we believe it is ethically imperative for them to ensure that a woman receives a referral to a willing provider.
We believe there is a profound moral case for freedom of reproductive choice. We are committed to explaining why abortions are necessary and why women are competent to make decisions and act on them responsibly.
To be prochoice is to be committed to the right of women to make their own reproductive decisions and to:
- Strive to create the conditions in which reproductive choice may be exercised.
- Support reproductive autonomy.
- Advocate for legal frameworks that allow autonomous decision-making.
- Educate the public and policymakers globally about the value of reproductive autonomy.
Women are the only ones who can make the right decision for themselves. This is the very essence of what it means to be prochoice.