Offences Against the Person Act 1861

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:45 pm on 5th June 2018.

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Photo of Sarah Wollaston Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons) 3:45 pm, 5th June 2018

Indeed. I could not agree more with the hon. Lady.

It is time for us to review the way in which we treat this issue and to move to a medical model. Since the 1967 Act, things have changed considerably, not only in social attitudes but in the availability of medical terminations of pregnancy. They were not available at the time of the Act. We have also moved on from the paternalistic attitudes that dictated that two doctors were the only ones who could be trusted to help a woman to take this decision. That completely negates the role of specialist nurse practitioners, who often undertake the role of counsellor in the clinics. It is an anachronism that we should still insist on two medical signatures.