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Immigration: Detention

House of Lords written question – answered on 24th July 2013.

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Photo of Lord Roberts of Llandudno Lord Roberts of Llandudno Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the recent Medical Justice report Expecting Change: The case for ending the detention of pregnant women; and whether they will amend current legislation so that pregnant women cannot be detained for immigration purposes.

Photo of Lord Taylor of Holbeach Lord Taylor of Holbeach The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Pregnant women are not normally detained except where their removal from the United Kingdom is imminent and medical advice does not suggest confinement before their removal date. Women who are less than 24 weeks pregnant may also be detained as part of the fast-track asylum process. All detainees have access to free on-site primary healthcare provision broadly equivalent to that available from NHS GPs in the community and pregnant women also have ready access to midwifery and ante-natal services.

The Home Office does not accept the conclusions in the recent Medical Justice report, not least because the report is based on a small sample of women over a period of more than three years.

There are no plans to change the current policy on detention of pregnant women.

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