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Informed consent law in Britain will dramatically reduce abortion rates, says Alive and Kicking

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Issued on behalf of Alive and Kicking

Press Release

For Immediate Release


‘Informed consent law in Britain will dramatically reduce abortion rates’, says Alive and Kicking

Research carried out for the Alive and Kicking Alliance suggests that simple measures like insisting that women receive abortion counselling and have a cooling-off period to reflect on their decision could dramatically reduce abortion rates in Britain.

Countries where abortion is available ‘on demand alone’, without any other safeguards, have an average abortion rate of 18.8 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age, whilst those with ‘safeguards’ legislation have a rate of 11.9 per 1,000 women.

Dr Peter Saunders of Alive and Kicking, said yesterday: ‘It is clear that European countries which provide counselling and/or a cooling off period have lower levels of abortion. Bringing in abortion on demand without safeguards in this country would be disastrous. What we need is a law providing women with the time, space and information to make an unpressured and properly informed decision.’

‘The UK’s abortion rate in 2003 was 17 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, close to the levels in countries with laws allowing abortion on demand. If the average abortion rate of countries with ‘safeguards’ legislation is applied to 2007 British abortion figures, there could be 65,000 fewer abortions every year.’

The British law currently falls in neither ‘on demand’ nor ‘safeguards’ categories – instead about 97% of abortions are carried out on grounds of risk to the mental health of the mother.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists earlier this year issued a statement saying more research was needed to establish whether or not continuing with an unwanted pregnancy actually posed a risk to a mother’s mental health.

The fact that abortion rates have crept up to ‘on-demand’ levels in this country, says Saunders, suggests that doctors are interpreting the mental health clause as a ‘catch-all’ to include unwanted pregnancy, failed contraception and emotional upset.

Abortion comes up for debate in House of Commons again on Monday when it is expected that Parliament will vote on a series of abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Some MPs wishing to liberalise the law have in the last week tabled amendments calling for abortion on demand up to 24 weeks, nurses doing abortions in GP clinics and schools and the criminalisation of people offering alternatives to abortion.

Saunders concluded, ‘Most countries with “on demand” laws offer abortion on demand only up to twelve weeks and yet many of them including Sweden (20), Latvia (29), Estonia (36) and Romania (35) have abortion rates even higher than in the UK. These proposed changes in the law would leave Britain with the most liberal abortion laws in Europe and could increase abortion rates dramatically. The rate could easily rise from around 200,000 to around a quarter of a million abortions each year.’

More details of the research are available on the CMF Website.

Number of abortions

Women aged 15-44

Abortion rate *

On demand without safeguards




On demand with safeguards




* Number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age, aged 15-44

Further information for Editors:

Alive and Kicking is seeking a substantial reduction of the 24-week upper limit for the abortion of healthy babies; an end to the discriminatory provision allowing abortion of disabled babies up to birth; and an informed consent law requiring doctors to provide comprehensive evidence-based information on the risks associated with abortion and the availability of positives alternatives for those needing help.

Alive and Kicking Alliance includes CARE, Christian Concern for our Nation, Christian Medical Fellowship, CORE, Evangelical Alliance, Guild of Catholic Doctors, Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, LIFE, Maranatha, Prolife Alliance, Real Choice, Student Life Net.

From: Paul Eddy

Paul Eddy Public Relations Ltd

38 Farm Road, Nottingham NG9 5BZ

T: 07958 905716




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