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 when they next expect to commission a foetal sentience evidence review and what organisations they will invite to undertake that and future reviews.

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

The Government does not formulate policy on foetal sentience. The review and determination of foetal sentience and its implications for abortion and clinical practice is reached through professional medical consensus and clinical guidance.

A recent and comprehensive review into Fetal Awareness Evidence was recently carried out by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Published in December 2022, the review concluded that evidence to date indicates the possibility of pain perception before 28 weeks of gestation is unlikely. A copy of the review is attached.

As an independent organisation responsible for producing clinical guidelines and setting standards for high quality women’s healthcare, the Government recognises their clinical expertise on this matter.

RCOG Fetal Awareness Evidence Review (pdf, 623.3KB)

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