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Unwanted Pregnancies: The Evolution of Abortion**audience choice

Whilst women in the UK are legally allowed to have abortions, thousands of other women in developing countries and some parts of Europe are still constrained and judged by existing laws. With a history of silence, shame, backstreet botch jobs and a strong ethical element, this debate gathers speakers to look at attitudes to abortion, past and present, across the globe.

The Science Museum’s dedicated annex for adults to discuss controversial science, the Dana Centre, is to debate one of the most emotive issues in science and medicine today: abortion.

Unwanted Pregnancies: The Evolution of Abortion, to be held at the Dana Centre on Tuesday 13 September, aims to contextualise abortion, explaining the history and cultural context of it across the globe.

The recent hit film Vera Drake broke new ground with this emotional topic: but what’s the real story? Were all ‘backstreet’ abortions really as horrific as they are portrayed? How do different parts of the world address the moral debate? How does an abortion actually work?

Speakers include Ann Furedi chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisor Service and David Paintin from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists - who advised the government in the 60s during the debates which lead to the passing of the Abortion Act. The experts will explain the history of abortion before it was made legal and take a look at how women deal with abortion in different countries today.

This free public event is an attempt to move beyond the personal, moral and polarised views held by individuals and is an outcome of the Dana Centre’s new audience panel, who have shaped the subject and format of this event. There is an increasing commitment from the Dana Centre to involve the public in the formulation of its events.

This event is one of a series looking at childbirth at the Dana Centre in London.

Unwanted Pregnancies: The Evolution of Abortion· Date: Tuesday 13 September, 19.00-21.00 (doors open for food and drink at 17.00)· Venue: The Science Museum’s Dana Centre, 165 Queens Gate, London, SW7 5HE · Nearest tube: Gloucester Road. · Tickets are FREE but must be pre-booked on: 020 7942 4040 or tickets@danacentre.org.uk· www.danacentre.org.uk · The Dana Centre is for over 18s only

Whilst women in the UK are legally allowed to have abortions, for thousands of other women in developing countries and parts of Europe, the law is still restrictive and unclear.

Speakers at the event will include:
Ann Furedi, Chief Executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the leading provider of abortion services in the UK, with a national network of consultation centres and clinics, will talk about abortion in the UK today.

Dr Lesley Hall will talk about the history of abortion in the UK. From backstreet abortions, how women were viewed in those times, the differences between the classes and the practices that took place. Dr Hall is from the Wellcome Library for History and Understanding of Medicine.

David Paintin, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, will look at the modern methods of legal abortion in the UK. He will explain the difference between medical abortion through ingested tablets and surgical abortion using instruments with a local or general anaesthetic. Audiences will be able to hear how the development of technology is changing what is possible. David Paintin is a former provider of abortion services in the NHS in Paddington, and was one of the gynaecologists who advised Lord Silkin and Sir David Steel during the parliamentary debates in 1965-67 that led to the passing of the Abortion Act.

Dr Kate Worsley, Clinical Advisor for Marie Stopes International, will give the view from the frontline. Dr Worsley will explain the international situation in regards to abortion, the trends in donor and governmental policy, and examples of the impact of this has on women in certain countries. She will also look at the cultural context to abortion - how has it been and how is it viewed around the world, are there still countries carrying out the type of practices we once had, what methods take place in different places. Dr Worsley has worked across the world, particular in South East Asia for Marie Stopes International.

Further information, interviews and images are available from Lauren Gildersleve:
Science Museum Press Office, 020 7942 4328; 07989 979864; lauren.gildersleve@nmsi.ac.uk


TBC | talks


Date and Time:

13 September 2005 at 7:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Dana Centre
165 Queen's Gate
+44 20 79 42 40 40
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Organised by:

Science Museum
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Available from:

Tickets are FREE but must be pre-booked on: 020 7942 4040 or tickets@danacentre.org.uk

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