Government plans for abortion put women's health in jeopardy

PA

A new survey from ComRes reveals public concern for women's health as the Government plans to end doctors' consultations for women considering an abortion.

The poll discovered that 76 per cent, including nearly eight in ten women, think the Government's decision to water down Britain's abortion laws puts the health of women at risk.

Nearly nine in ten (89 per cent) say that a woman requesting an abortion should always be seen in person by a qualified doctor. This figure rises to 92 per cent among women voters.

The Christian Institute commissioned the survey following the Government's decision to press ahead with changes to the Abortion Act.

The organisation warns that the reform amounts to the "greatest liberalisation" of abortion laws since 1967.

"The Government is in a complete mess over these changes, which might be open to legal challenge and are certainly against the intention of this law," said Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute.

"The two doctor rule, reaffirmed by the last Labour Government in 1999 was designed to protect the lives of women and their unborn babies."

Another discovery made from the survey was the strong public backing for tough sanctions to be taken against doctors who falsely claim they have seen a woman wanting a termination.

More than eight in ten agreed that doctors should be prosecuted or disciplined by their professional bodies for such actions. Just Six per cent disagreed.

Former Health secretary Andrew Lansley told Parliament in March 2012 that he would consult on new guidelines for abortion providers outside the NHS.

Mr Hart is to publish a full chronology of the events leading up to the changes, which he says show the former Health Secretary endorsed a "clandestine consultation process" which has watered down the current legislation.

Lansley's Interim Procedures of Independent Sector Places for the Termination of Pregnancy (Abortion), stated that: "We consider it good practice that one of the two certifying doctors has seen the woman, though this is not a legal requirement."

Mr Hart said Lansley had to take responsibility for bringing in radical changes "which are not supported by the public".

"These new rules represent the greatest liberalisation of abortion law since 1967. Parliament was bypassed and there was no public consultation," he said.

"Abortion is far too an important issue for the Government to act in this bizarre, secretive and haphazard way.

"David Cameron should must reverse Andrew Lansley's liberalisation of abortion which the public overwhelming views as putting the health of women at risk."

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