The Christian Institute

News Release

Concern as Tory spokesman backs ‘abortion on demand’ proposals

The Christian Institute expressed concern at the proposals of the Conservative Health Spokesman, Andrew Lansley, to radically liberalise abortion law by scrapping the two doctor rule and legalising nurses to carry out abortions.

The UK has one of the highest rates of abortion in the whole of the EU – double the rate of Germany and higher even than the Netherlands which has no gestational limit. Any woman who wants an abortion in Britain can have one up to 24 weeks. Even beyond that time abortion is legal up to birth in the case of foetal handicap.

The UK operates one of the most liberal abortion regimes in the world. Unlike many European Countries there is no statutory cooling off period, statutory counselling or ‘informed consent’ law.

The requirement that abortion has the consent of two doctors is practically the only feature of our system which provides the opportunity for women to think again and take further advice. Mr Lansley has also proposed that nurses should be able to carry out medical (drug-induced) abortion which the BMA has rejected.

Speaking today, Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said:

“What happens in practice is much more liberal than the letter of the law. Given that our abortion rate is so high it’s obvious that any woman who wants an abortion can have one up to 24 weeks. But the two doctor rule does provide an opportunity to think again.

“Thousands of women want the opportunity to think again. They are unsure what to do and it’s wrong for them to be bounced into abortion.

“Unlike many European Countries our system has no cooling off period, informed consent law or statutory counselling.

“In the UK the only legal provision we have to provide time for reflection or further advice is the two doctor rule. Yet Andrew Lansley, the Conservative Health Spokesman, wants to sweep this away. This is a radical liberalisation of the law.

“The whole thrust of public opinion is to tighten up our abortion laws. So far as we are aware no Government minister (either in private capacity or otherwise) has gone as far as Mr Lansley to publicly back abortion on demand in the first trimester without the two doctor requirement.”