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Our abortion law is being undermined

By Jill Kirby, Telegraph

The 1967 Act was never intended to make terminations a form of contraception

As the Duchess of Cambridge emerges from the ordeal of pregnancy sickness and displays her discreet bump to the world’s press, it is sobering to remember that more than one in five women becoming pregnant in the UK choose not to give birth, but to have an abortion. The latest available figures show that only 1 per cent of these are carried out because the baby would be born handicapped. Another 98 per cent are on the grounds that the continuation of the pregnancy would carry a risk to the woman’s mental health.

All told, more than 190,000 abortions are carried out each year on this basis – yet Professor Clare Gerada, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, has admitted that the risk is not objectively tested. “What we have is what the woman tells us,” she says. “It isn’t for me to judge her or be moralistic. It’s for me to explore potential other options but to take her at face value.” In other words, if a woman asks for an abortion, she will almost certainly get one.

Prof Gerada’s comments feature in tonight’s Panorama, which investigates the ease with which abortions can be obtained on the NHS. The BBC programme follows up last year’s undercover investigation by The Daily Telegraph, which found clinics routinely breaking the law.

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