Abortion laws illegal?

Illegal abortion qualifying conditions should be scrapped, urge lawyers

Abortion laws in this country are illegal and the qualifying conditions that allow a woman to request the procedure should be scrapped, according to a group of medical lawyers and academics.

As it currently stands, a woman must have signed permission from two doctors before an abortion can be granted, but experts say this goes against modern medical practice, and the laws that govern it, which claim all individuals are entitled to make their own healthcare decisions.

In a letter to The Times, which includes 85 signatures, the group claims medical advances mean today’s abortion laws are no longer necessary and not only is waiting for two doctors to give permission archaic, but that procedures should be carried out by qualified nurses.

In the letter, the academics make clear that they do not want a change in law to increase the number of abortions undertaken in this country, but say that those that do take place should do so earlier in a woman’s pregnancy – and ‘there is no evidence that this is best achieved by placing obstacles in the path of a women wishing to end her pregnancy’.

Next week, MPs will vote on a number of changes to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, including the two-doctor-permission rule, alongside amendments from pro-life MPs, including the need for a ‘cooling-off period’ between requesting an abortion and receiving it.

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