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8 October 2013

October digest: Britain’s top prosecutor clarifies abortion law

This month's top stories on Reproductive Review.

- 1. UK: DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS AFFIRMS DECISION ON ‘SEX SELECTION’ ABORTIONS

The decision not to prosecute two doctors accused of arranging abortions based on the sex of the fetus remains the right one, the country’s top prosecutor has said.

- 2. COMMENT: YOU CAN’T BE PRO-CHOICE ONLY WHEN YOU LIKE THE CHOICE

Ann Furedi, chief executive of British Pregnancy Advisory Service, explains the dangers of clamping down on ‘sex-selection abortions’.

- 3. BRITAIN’S ABORTION LAW: WHAT IT SAYS, AND WHY

The papers in this publication have been written by academics and lawyers to clarify the British abortion law, through explaining both its origins and its application today. These papers explain that the 1967 Abortion Act was very carefully worded to provide doctors with the discretion to manage the abortion question, according to their own professional judgement. The abortion regulations, similarly, are designed to support the law, which has at its heart the discretion of the doctor. This pamphlet aims to reassure medical professionals where they stand in relation to the authorisation of abortions in Britain today.

- 4. UK: WOMEN DIAGNOSED WITH FETAL ANOMALY ‘DENIED SURGICAL ABORTIONS’

Women who terminate their pregnancies after a diagnosis of fetal anomaly should not be forced to go through labour, the ARC/BPAS conference on 9 September heard.

- 5. EVENT REPORT: ‘DIAGNOSES AND DILEMMAS’

The ARC/bpas conference discussed a number of pressing issues in antenatal testing and its consequences, including choice of method in termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly, advances in non-invasive prenatal testing and ultrasound, and new challenges in fetal medicine.

- 6. A STATEMENT ON LATER ABORTION

A number of key US pro-choice organisations have affirmed their support for women’s ability to access abortions in the second or third trimester, and the providers who care for them.

- 7. POPE ATTEMPTS TO CLARIFY STANCE ON MORAL ISSUES

Pope Francis has said the Catholic Church is too focused on preaching about abortion, gay people and contraception and needs to become more merciful: but has also condemned abortion as the product of a ‘throwaway culture’.

- 8. USA: POST-FERTILISATION CONTRACEPTION ON THE HORIZON

A contraceptive tablet that acts like the morning-after pill but could be taken up to a month after sex is probably scientifically possible and would be welcomed by women, scientists have said.

- 9. UK: GOVERNMENT ADVISER CALLS FOR POOR WOMEN TO BE COERCED INTO CONTRACEPTION

Mothers in some large problem families should be taken to the doctors for advice about contraception to stop them having children, Louise Casey, the head of the government’s troubled families programme, has said.

- 10. UK: BABY WEIGHT CHARTS SKEWED TO PROMOTE BREASTFEEDING

Hundreds of thousands of children are misleadingly classed as fat under official measures of growth, experts say.

- 11. UK: BIOLOGICAL CLOCK WARNINGS IN THE NEWS AGAIN…

Most women’s fertility begins to decline sharply in their mid-thirties but a growing number are waiting until a later stage in order to focus on a career or save money, experts from Newcastle University claim.

- 12. ... AND SO IS NADINE DORRIES

Nadine Dorries is encouraging Labour MPs to vote for her as Deputy Speaker on the grounds that it ‘would be an excellent way to shut me up and to largely remove abortion from the political agenda’, PoliticsHome reports.

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