HALF a century after abortion laws were drastically liberalised in Great Britain, researchers at Oxford University are hoping to start a conversation about attitudes to terminations.

The My Body My Life show will run at the Old Fire Station in George Street, Oxford, and will see researchers wear T-shirts emblazoned with quotes relating to women's abortion experiences.

It marks 50 years since the Abortion Act 1967 made safe and legal terminations much easier for women to access.

The exhibition is designed to look like a fashion boutique and will use clothing to bring a range of experiences to life to represent some of the nearly 200,000 abortions that take place in the UK every year.

Academics from the Oxford law faculty and the Open University researched women’s experiences of abortion have organised activities to engage with the audience, including a panel discussion.

Dr Imogen Goold, associate professor of law, said: ‘This exhibition is a fantastic example of why it’s so important for academics to engage with the public about their work.

"It brings this important research into the community, and will broaden public understanding of abortion, a subject that affects so many of us but about which we are often silent.

"Over the past 50 years, the Abortion Act has enabled thousands of women to access safe abortion services, ending the period of backdoor abortions that left so many women injured, and sometimes even dead.

"It is timely for us to reflect on the positive impact the act had, and to think about whether it needs amendment to further ensure women retain control of their bodies and their lives."

The exhibition shows how an unplanned pregnancy can become a part of a woman’s life, how different women have made their decision about having an abortion, and what the process was like for them.

Lesley Hoggart, associate head of school at the Open University explained the reason behind it. She said: "The reality is that one in 60 women will experience an unplanned pregnancy every year, and abortion is a necessary part of the reproductive control that every woman needs in order to participate equally and fully in society, not being bound to unwilling motherhood.

"There is nothing to be ashamed of in that.

"Secrecy feeds abortion stigma, and therefore needs challenging.

"This is what we are doing through bringing our research to life in this multi-media travelling exhibition.’

The exhibition will run at the Old Fire Station from November 7 to 11. For details see oldfirestation.org.uk
For more information about the show, go to www.mybody-mylife.org.