Biggest liberalisation of abortion slammed by ethicist

Secret abortion guidance introduced by the Conservatives has effectively brought in a “nurse-led abortion service”, a Christian ethicist has warned.

Dr Peter Saunders said the change had been ‘smuggled in’ under former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley “without the issue ever being discussed in parliament and without the knowledge of most of his own party colleagues”.

Saunders was responding to news last week from The Christian Institute, detailing how the Tories have been responsible for the biggest liberalisation of abortion procedures since 1967.

The revelations show that former Health Secretary Lansley told abortion clinics in secret guidance that doctors do not need to see women seeking an abortion.

David Cameron

Saunders also raised questions about Prime Minister David Cameron, saying the revelations would “not endear him” to “many social conservatives”.

“Did Cameron know what Lansley was doing and approve it? Or did Lansley sneak this measure through without his leader’s knowledge? Was Cameron collaborating or being deceived?

“These are very serious questions”, Saunders added.


“I would not be surprised”, he continued, “as the scale of this operation gets out, that we might be seeing MPs buried by bulging parliamentary postbags from angry constituents”.

“Then I expect that these same MPs will start asking some very pertinent parliamentary questions which even David Cameron might find difficult to answer”, Saunders concluded.

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


In July 2012 however, his new interim guidelines were sent to clinics – 17 months before the promised public consultation eventually began.

These new rules effectively “bypassed” Parliament and although the guidance was intended to address the problems of doctors pre-signing forms and sex selection abortions, it did neither, but instead simply relaxed abortion procedures.

A recent poll of 2,000 people found that nearly nine in ten voters believed that a patient considering an abortion should be seen in person by a doctor.

Nearly 80 per cent of the respondents believe that not doing so would put the woman’s health at risk.

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