Scrap qualifying conditions for abortion and let women decide, say academics

07:55 by Editor · 0 Post a comment on AAWR

Britain’s 40-year-old abortion law flouts the legal principles that underpin modern medical practice, 85 academic lawyers and ethicists say today.

In a letter to The Times they urge MPs to remove the “qualifying conditions” on abortion that require women to obtain signed permission from two doctors, calling it “an anomaly”.

Modern medical practice makes clear that individuals are entitled to make their own healthcare decisions, even if they appear wrong or irrational to others, they say.

The courts have upheld that a woman can refuse a Caesarean section even if it is essential to save her life or that of her unborn baby.

The intervention of the academics comes as MPs prepare to vote on a series of amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill on October 29 that could change where abortions are performed and by whom.

Although individual academic lawyers and ethicists have commented on the issue of abortion before, never have so many settled on a single view or called on MPs to act. That could be influential on wavering MPs in the run-up to next Wednesday’s vote.

MPs have tabled numerous amendments for debate, including reducing to one the number of doctors required to give permission for an abortion. Another seeks to broaden the range of premises and healthcare staff who can perform early abortions, which use drugs and do not require surgery. They can currently be carried out only in clinics licensed by the Health Secretary and by doctors. “Pro-life” MPs have tabled amendments to restrict the grounds for late abortion because of foetal impairment, and for a compulsory cooling-off period before a termination for counselling.

In their letter the academics say that the current restrictions on where abortions are carried out are no longer justified given medical advances, and also suggest that trained nurses should be allowed to carry out the procedure.

The licensed premises rule, and the requirement that only a doctor can perform a termination, is not dictated by patient safety and good medical practice and should also be reformed, they say.

MPs had been due to debate these issues in July as part of the later stages of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

In May, during earlier stages of the same Bill, they voted to keep the upper time limit on abortions at 24 weeks by a comfortable majority.

The views of medical experts were thought to have been influential on MPs in that vote. The British Medical Association, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Nurses and the British Association of Perinatal Medicine all said that there had been no improvement in viability of babies born at 22 and 23 weeks and called for the limit to remain at 24 weeks. continues here

Related Posts by Categories

Post a comment on AAWR

0 Responses to "Scrap qualifying conditions for abortion and let women decide, say academics"

Post a Comment

We welcome contributions from all sides of the debate, at AAWR comment is free, AAWR may edit and/or delete your comments if abusive, threatening, illegal or libellous according to our understanding of, no emails will be published. Your comments may be published on other nationalist media sites worldwide.