A COUNCIL said women who needed abortions in Brighton and Hove would be sent to London after a Brighton clinic closed.
Labor Councilor Amanda Grimshaw said she had received “disturbing feedback” that women would not have access to a local clinic if their pregnancy exceeded the nine-and-a-half week mark to take medication.
Councilor Grimshaw told a meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council that the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) clinic, known as Wistons, in Dyke Road, Brighton, has closed after 40 years
She told a full council meeting at Hove Town Hall that Wistons was closing after MSI Reproductive Choices won a tender for the contract.
She urged council officials to work with local health partners to ensure local abortion services are operating efficiently and providing local service to those who need it.
Councilor Grimshaw said: “I called (MSI) today to inquire about access to procedures and was told medicines could come in the post if a pregnancy was less than nine and a half weeks. And if the pregnancy went beyond this length, then a visit to a clinic was required.
“I asked where these clinics were and was told that clients who need the service would have to go to either London or Maidstone due to a refurbishment.
“I am asking today why was a new provider hired when his clinic needed a refurbishment? Since when is the clinic in town closed? What kind of service is offered?
“I am now telling the word of a young woman in our city who unfortunately had to access these services from a new provider six months ago.
“(She said) They originally tried to send me to London because the BPAS center which was up in the Seven Dials closed. They don’t do that there anymore. Her nearest clinic is in London.
“The only one working now is that of County Oak Medical Centre, but it’s the only one in Brighton so it’s difficult to get an appointment.
“You have to wait weeks. They sent me to London to have a scan done to see how far along I was. I was literally there for five minutes.
“I do not understand why. You could have just seen me in Brighton. The service was terrible.”
Councilor Grimshaw said that dismissal is not an easy decision but should be an assisted and efficient process.
She added: “Long waits, visits to London, a total lack of flexibility and closed clinics are not what I would like to see in our city.
“Our residents deserve better – and our services should be a beacon and inspiration to others across the UK and around the world.
“As we look to the world and other areas of the UK, we certainly need to ensure that our own home is safe for our residents.”
Councilor Grimshaw, who has previously spoken about her experiences as a domestic violence survivor, shared her experience of visiting the BPAS clinic and noted how many other women from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland had arrived.
Her comments came as council members debated abortion rights and agreed to support women’s right to vote, including Northern Ireland’s Alliance for Choice and the Abortion Support Network.
They debated an application by Green Federal Councilor Marianna Ebel.
MSI Reproductive Choices said the County Oak clinic was open but their Preston Road location was undergoing a refurbishment and would reopen on Monday, August 1st.
Rebecca Goldsmith, MSI Clinical Services Matron for Sussex, said: “While the center’s Brighton premises have been closed, we have continued to offer pre-op appointments, post-op appointments and consultations from our four other clinics across Sussex.
“We also offer surgical abortions at multiple clinics for those who need it, with all travel and accommodation expenses for clients and any escorts covered by MSI.”
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https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20500943.abortion-access-concerns-brighton-hove/?ref=rss Abortion access concerns for Brighton and Hove