To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward proposals to require abortion clinics to inform women seeking an abortion about alternatives to abortion; what guidance he has (a) issued and (b) plans to issue on this matter; what recent representations he has received (i) supporting and (ii) opposing the issuing of such guidance; and if he will make a statement.
The following guidance recommends that women should be provided with information on alternatives to abortion:
Procedures for the approval of independent sector places for the termination of pregnancy, Department of Health, 1999;
Independent Health Care National Minimum Standards, Department of Health, 2002;
Effective Commissioning of Sexual health and HIV Services, A Sexual Health and HIV Commissioning Toolkit for primary care trusts and local authorities, Department of Health, 2003;
The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion, Evidence-based Clinical Guideline Number 7, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 2004; and
Further guidance will be included in the forthcoming Department of Health document "Good Practice Guidance for the Commissioning of Contraception and Abortion Services" due to be published later this year.
As such, we have no plans to bring forward proposals to require abortion clinics to inform women seeking an abortion about alternatives to abortion.
The Department has received around 200 letters on abortion during 2008. We are unable to break this down in the format requested.