Rachael Maskell – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Rachael Maskell on 2016-05-25.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what his policy is on the introduction of abortion up to birth.

Jane Ellison

The Abortion Act 1967 sets out that an abortion may be carried out after 24 weeks gestation only where:

― the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman Section 1(1)(b); or

― the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated Section 1(1)(c); or

― there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped Section 1(1)(d).

In England and Wales it is accepted Parliamentary practice that proposals for changes to the Abortion Act come from backbench members and that decisions are made on the basis of free votes. The Government has no plans to review this legislation.