One in five abortion clinics may be breaking the law

A nationwide inspection found that one in five clinics don’t comply with government regulations

One in five abortion clinics are breaking the law by providing pre-signed consent forms, an investigation has found.

But the motives for the investigation have been slammed as ‘politically driven’ by the head of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

After inspecting more than 250 private and NHS clinics, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that more than 50 were ‘not in compliance’ with national abortion regulations.

The law requires two doctors to certify an abortion based on assessment of clinical information, but the inspection suggested forms had been signed before any assessment had taken place. This followed a revelation by the Daily Telegraph earlier in the week that some clinics were providing sex-selection abortions.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said he was ‘shocked and appalled’ by the allegations.

The BPAS criticized the inspection, saying the timing is wrong and it forces health regulators away from their other duties, such as inspecting standards at institutions and hospitals.

‘I have to ask myself why is it that the Secretary of State has felt that it is so important to carry out this piece of work and I think it’s politically driven,’ Ann Furedi, chief executive of the BPAS, said on the BBC’s Today programme. ‘We know that it is an organisation that is severely under funded and has had huge problems and yet they have been prioritising the certification around abortion.’

In response to BPAS’ claim, the CQC says the spot checks have had a ‘limited’ effect on its other work.

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