The Department of Health has launched a public consultation seeking views on its proposals to introduce wide-ranging changes that will fundamentally liberalise the way in which the 1967 Abortion Act is interpreted and implemented by independent sector abortion providers.

It has updated the range of procedures (known as the “Required Standard Operating Procedures” (RSOPs)) that private abortion providers, such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), must follow in order to be authorised to perform pregnancy terminations by the Secretary of State.

The proposed RSOPs will allow doctors to authorise abortions without examining, in person, women who are seeking an abortion. They will also permit non-doctors (such as nurses) to perform terminations by administering abortion-inducing drugs provided that a doctor ‘decides upon, initiates and takes responsibility throughout the process”.

As such, the proposals significantly undermine the protections built into the 1967 Abortion Act, which specifically states that an abortion is illegal unless two doctors agree ‘in good faith’ that one of the grounds for an abortion under the Act have been met.

Video By Dr Peter Saunders on Subject

Department of Health Link to Consultation Opinion: Consultation Link

 

Suggested Answers (please modify to your own style):

Question 4: No

Question 5:

Given the serious risk to the mental health of the mother, it should be a mandatory requirement for all women to attend both pre and post abortive counselling.

Furthermore, of the two doctors who approve an abortion, the Department of Health should require at least one to have specialist training in the field of mental health.

Counsellors should not be employed by the organisation (such as BPAS) offering abortion services as this would present a clear conflict of interest.

Question 6:

The Abortion Act expressly requires two doctors to certify that in their opinion, formed in good faith, a request for an abortion meets at least one of the grounds set out in the Act. A doctor can only reach this opinion in ‘good faith’ if he examines the patient in person.

The proposed RSOPs will allow doctors to authorise abortions without examining, in person, women who are seeking an abortion. They will also permit non-doctors (such as nurses) to perform terminations by administering abortion-inducing drugs provided that a doctor ‘decides upon, initiates and takes responsibility throughout the process”.

As such, the proposals significantly undermine the protections built into the 1967 Abortion Act, which specifically states that an abortion is illegal unless two doctors agree ‘in good faith’ that one of the grounds for an abortion under the Act have been met.

 

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