Abortion

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 23 April 2024.

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Photo of Lord Jackson of Peterborough Lord Jackson of Peterborough Conservative

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks of Lord Markham on 22 March (HL Deb col 441), how they reconcile his assertion that “the Government do not set policy" on foetal sentience with the provisions of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022 which included the establishment of an animal sentience committee.

Photo of Lord Markham Lord Markham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs formulates policy on animal welfare. The Animal Sentience Committee holds functions relating to the effect of government policy on the welfare of animals.

By contrast, the determination of foetal sentience and its implications for abortion and neonatal medical practice is reached through professional consensus and clinical guidance, rather than through policy. For example, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ most recent Fetal Awareness Evidence Review was published in December 2022, a copy of which is attached.

RCOG Fetal Awareness Evidence Review (pdf, 623.3KB)

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