Abortion should not be a crime, says doctors' body


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Abortions should be treated as a medical issue and not a crime, the UK’s leading pregnancy doctors say.

Currently in England, Wales and Scotland it is illegal to have a termination without approval from two doctors and could mean a prison term.

Abortions should be regulated in line with other procedures without criminal sanctions, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said.

It says the 24-week gestational limit should not change.

RCOG president Professor Lesley Regan said it had a responsibility to ensure women had access to “this key healthcare service”.

“I want to be clear that decriminalisation does not mean deregulation, and abortion services should be subject to regulatory and professional standards, in line with other medical procedures.”

Doctors’ union the British Medical Association backed the decriminalisation at its annual conference in June.

In Northern Ireland, abortions are only allowed if a woman’s life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her physical or mental health.

Earlier this year, the UK government said it would provide free abortions in England for women from Northern Ireland.



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