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Parliamentary Committee Slammed for taking 'ethics and morals' out of Abortion Inquiry

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Issued on behalf of the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship/Christian Concern for Our Nation (CCFON)

Press Release

For Immediate Release

5th September 2007


THE DECISION by the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Parliament not to consider the ethical and moral issues surrounding the upper limit for abortions has been criticised by the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship and religious groups.

The Committee, who have conducted their inquiry over the summer months whilst Parliament is not sitting, and have limited submissions to a maximum of 3,000 words so that detailed arguments cannot be made, are accused of failing to consider properly what is a very sensitive, emotive and fundamentally 'moral' issue.

The committee opened their inquiry in the run up to the 40th anniversary of the Abortion Act and amidst calls by many medics and pro-life groups to reduce the number of weeks in which a woman may have an abortion under the Act, and not face prosecution provided the criteria is met. Advances in paediatrics over the past 40 years and a change in the mood of public opinion had led politicians on all sides of the House of Commons to consider calling for a reduction in the time limit from the current 24 weeks.

However, the LCF has called into question the committee's procedures. Andrea Minichiello Williams, public policy officer at LCF said: "This inquiry was done quickly over the summer months so few people knew about it .

"The committee limited submissions to just 3,000 words each - certainly not enough to look in detail at the issues posed. They also stated that they would not be considering the ethical and moral issues surrounding the upper time limit for abortions. The idea that any
meaningful inquiry into Abortion law can be done whilst ignoring ethical and moral issues is incomprehensible, and ignores the fact that any conclusions or views the committee come to will necessarily be coloured by their own ethical and moral judgements. It also ignores the fact that abortion is primarily a moral issue - both for those for and those opposed
to it."

For more information about LCF's submission, visit www.lawcf.org


ENDS.


For further information:

Andrea Minichiello Williams 0771 259 1164, Paul Eddy (PR) 07932 019 430

Editor's Note:

The Executive Summary of LCF's submission is below:-


The LCF is opposed to the legalisation of abortion and nothing in this submission should be taken as an endorsement of abortion or as a concession on this principle.

The Committee’s intention to conduct this inquiry without considering the ethical or moral issues associated with the 24-week time limit is unworkable as

  • such issues will necessarily play a part in their deliberations, whether consciously or subconsciously, and

  • an inquiry which removed consideration of these issues would become futile because law, science and abortion will always be inextricably linked with ethical and moral issues.

There are a number of scientific developments that suggest review of the 24-week limit is appropriate, such as the lowering of the age of ‘foetal viability’ and the development of 3-dimensional ultra-sound pictures.

The LCF do not accept that foetal abnormality can ever justify abortion.

There are serious concerns about the safety and value of amniocentesis tests, the pressure put on parents of deformed foetuses to have abortions, and the lack of consideration given to current and future treatments for the conditions of foetuses who are being aborted.

Abortion on demand should not be legalised.

Studies show that the physical and medical effects of abortion on women are underestimated and can have severe consequences.

Increased use of the morning after pill is having no positive effect on the rate of abortions and teenage pregnancy, and is having a detrimental effect on the rate of STDs.

The need for two doctors’ signatures should be kept as one of the few safeguards included in the Abortion Act. Rather than reducing the number of safeguards we should be strengthening the safeguards in the Act.


To remove the need for a doctor to perform an abortion would simply trivialise a procedure that has caused much trauma to women. Instead, steps should be taken to educate and warn the public about the dangers and side effects of abortion.

It would be irresponsible to allow the second stage of medical abortions to take place at a woman’s home, bearing in mind the possible physical dangers involved, as well as the obviously traumatic nature of the procedure.

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