by Norman Tebbit, Telegraph
Years ago when that thoroughly decent man David Steel brought in his Abortion Bill he explained that it was not intended to provide abortion on demand, but to end the sordid trade of the back-street abortionists who frequently botched the procedure, inflicting pain and injury on their clients. Many of those who supported him did so for that reason, despite warnings that it was a step too far on to a very slippery slope which would lead to abortion on demand.
Those warnings have proved prescient. Not only has the Steel legislation been greatly widened in scope, but in practice abortion is now available on demand, well past the time when the child would be capable of survival and in practice up to full term. Nor is there any need of evidence of any congenital defects or disorders. All that is necessary is that the mother so wants to be rid of her child that she can find two doctors (who it appears do not actually have to see her) to say that her health might be adversley affected if the child was born. Indeed some doctors regard the mother's reluctance to bear a female child for social reasons as sufficient evidence to allow an abortion.
Now the former Labour Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer plans to bring in his Assisted Suicide Bill to allow doctors to provide lethal medication and asstance if needs be to patients they believe to have less than six months to live.
At present it is a criminal offence to asist in a suicide, but a prosecution requires the consent of the Attorney General and that is rarely forthcoming as he would have to believe that improper pressure had been put on a person to take their own life.