Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum 19

Submission from the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Choice and Sexual Health Group, submitted by Baroness Gould of Potternewton

  I am writing on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Choice and Sexual Health Group, which is a registered cross party group, established in 2004. The purpose of the Group is to raise awareness in Parliament of the needs of women seeking abortion and the importance of improving all aspects of sexual health for women and men in the UK.

  The All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Choice and Sexual Health Group works closely with fpa and the Faculty for Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care. The Group supports the evidence which has been submitted to the Committee's inquiry into the 1967 Abortion Act by both fpa and the Faculty. We believe that the evidence they have gathered clearly demonstrates that:

    1)  There have been no scientific or medical advances to justify a reduction in the current abortion time limit. Women seeking later abortions often face exceptional and difficult circumstances.

    2)  Liberalisation of access to abortions in the first trimester would be safe and practical. This is reflected in international medical practice, for example in the United States. These changes would benefit women.

    3)  There is no conclusive evidence linking abortion with long-term or acute adverse health outcomes; but it is well documented that restricting access to abortion is harmful to women's health.

  The Group holds regular meetings on abortion, including a meeting in December 2006 which investigated why women need later abortions and whether there the current upper time limit for legal abortions should be reduced. The Group heard evidence from Dr Donald Peebles, University College London; Liz Davies, Marie Stopes International; and Jane Fisher, Antenatal Results and Choices. The Group concluded that there was no evidence to support a reduction in the current time limit. I would be happy to supply the Committee with a copy of the report of this meeting if it is helpful.

September 2007

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