Losing a baby through abortion

Expectant mothers may choose to have an abortion for different reasons, or need to have an abortion as a life saving measure when their health may be severely harmed, however there are laws governing the abortion process.

What is abortion?

An abortion is a termination of a pregnancy either through medication or surgery. Two consenting doctors at local family planning clinics or genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics in the UK can refer a patient for an NHS abortion. In some areas, the NHS also funds abortions at private clinics.

Legalities of abortion

Even though abortion is legal in the UK up to the twenty fourth week, many hospitals and medical providers will not perform an abortion after eighteen to twenty weeks.

The Abortion Act of 1967 was amended by the HFE Act of 1990 to separate the Life Preservation Act from the Abortion Act, allowing abortion to full term for disability, life of the mother and health of the mother. Under the Act, women have grounds for abortion up to 24 weeks of gestation:

  • When a woman's life is at risk due to the pregnancy or to save a woman's life
  • When the child may be born with a severe physical or mental impairment
  • When a woman's physical or mental health is at risk of grave permanent harm (including under 28 weeks)
  • When a woman's existing children's physical or mental health may be at risk of harm

Statistics show that ninety five percent of abortions in England and Wales are granted on grounds of permanent injury risk to the mother's physical or mental health.

When considering to have an abortion, it is imperative to get advice from your doctor, family planning or specialist clinic. In the UK, two doctors need to agree that continuing the pregnancy will be harmful to you. In all cases, a consent form must be signed.

Paternal rights and abortion

Abortion laws regarding the rights of the father differ by case and country. Fathers in the UK who have fought against the abortion right of their partners and have been unsuccessful, include cases such as 1978 case Paton v. Trustees of British Pregnancy Advisory Service Trustees and the 2001 case of Stephan Hone and Claire Hansell, because the Life Preservation Act has been separated from the Abortion Act giving women extended ground for abortion based on their own and their existing children's mental and physical health.

Losing a Baby:

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