COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Abortion campaign group seeking first chief since merger

The UK's biggest organisation for the pro-choice abortion lobby is seeking its first director to take on a campaigning role for its sexual health and social change agenda.

Abortion Rights was formed in September when the Abortion Law Reform Association and the National Abortion Campaign joined forces.

ALRA was founded in 1936 and the NAC was formed in 1975. The new organisation is funded by donations from its members, including women's organisations and trade unions. Abortion Rights will commission research into women's understanding of abortion rights and regional variations in the availability of abortions.

"As the law stands, women have to obtain permission from two doctors, which can take up to three or four weeks. Doctors can refuse abortions without telling the patient they are a conscientious objector," said a spokeswoman for the organisation.

"If the woman is unaware of the law, she may go away thinking that's the end of it. There's the question of money too. In some areas, NHS hospitals can refuse to carry out abortions so the patient has to pay around £300-400 for the procedure," she said.

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