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18 July 2013

UK: Bruce Inquiry publishes report

The report of the ‘Parliamentary Inquiry into Abortion on the Grounds of Fetal Disabillity’, chaired by the Conservative backbench MP Fiona Bruce, shows much prejudice, and strikingly little compassion.

Its summary of findings notes that ‘The majority of those in medical bodies and involved in fetal medicine strongly argued that the law is right for the small number of difficult cases where parents face a late discovery of the child’s disability and that the law has no impact on public attitudes’.

Nonetheless, the report when on to make a number of recommendations confirming that its primary motivation was to seek arguments for restricting abortion on grounds of fetal anomaly. These included changing the law, so that all abortions would take place before 24 weeks; and requiring, in the name of ‘transparency’, that all abortions that take place after 24 weeks’ gestation were subject to post-mortem examination (even where there is no clinical benefit to this).

Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS, commented: ‘It’s sad that the committee members sought to confirm their prejudices against abortion. The law, clinical practice and regulations do precisely what parliament intends and compassionate people want. They allow the appropriate legal services for women who need them.’

The Bruce report received very little coverage in the media. In September, Bruce urged members of the public to contact their MP about the current abortion laws, which she says ‘discriminate’ against disabled people.

In May Fiona Bruce, with Labour’s Jim Dobbin, jointly introduced a private bill to urge the Government to introduce monitoring of the sex of aborted fetuses.

Abortion law ‘discriminates’ against the disabled, says MP. Christian Institute, 3 September 2013

Parliamentary Inquiry into Abortion on the Grounds of Disability. July 2013.

Abortion for fetal abnormality: We can trust women to make decisions that are right. The inquiry into abortion on the grounds of disability is seeking solutions to problems that don’t exist – and ignoring those problems that do, argues Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. Daily Telegraph, 31 January 2013