Abortion

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 1st December 2020.

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Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the HSA4 Abortion Notification forms received by the Department of Health and Social Care since 1st January 2020, how many abortions have been carried out under Ground E; and how many of the Ground E abortions (a) mentioned medical condition, (b) method of diagnosis, and (c) whether that was the only ground for abortion given.

Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Under the Abortion Act 1967, a pregnancy may be lawfully terminated by a registered medical practitioner in approved premises, if two medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the abortion is justified under one or more of grounds A to G. Ground E refers to cases where “there is substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped”. There can be multiple reasons for an abortion for a fetal abnormality, therefore there can be more than one medical condition mentioned on a HSA4 form.

This data should be treated as provisional, meaning that it may be subject to revision if the Department receives further information from hospitals and clinics on missing information from HSA4 forms, or more forms are received.

There were 1,619 abortions performed under ground E between January to June 2020.

The attached table shows abortions performed under ground E, between January to June 2020 as follows:

- Total number of abortions performed under ground E alone or with any other ground;

- Total number of abortions performed under ground E alone;

- Total mentions of medical conditions; and

- Method of diagnosis.

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