We trust women and doctors to make responsible choices

bpas comment on Department of Health guidance on the legal requirements of the 1967 Abortion Act

This much anticipated legal guidance should reassure doctors providing abortion care. It makes clear that doctors are trusted to reach their own decisions "in good faith" as to whether a woman meets the criteria of the 1967 Abortion Act, including what factors contribute a risk to mental health, and when such circumstances exist.

It recognises the important and expanding role of the multidisciplinary team (nurses, counsellors) in obtaining information to support doctors' decision-making.

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said:

"This guidance endorses our practice at bpas."

"One in three women will need an abortion because their contraception fails, their life circumstances suddenly change, or a problem is found with a much wanted pregnancy. Recently, doctors providing abortion services have felt under intense political scrutiny, and this document should give them the reassurance that neither the law nor regulations have changed to accommodate those who think their work is wrong." 

“However, abortion remains a criminal offence and this guidance is about meeting the requirements of the law not those of women or doctors. The law impedes best practice. There is no clinical need for two doctors to certify  a woman’s reasons for abortion, in addition to obtaining her consent, it simply causes delays. Bpas trusts women to make responsible choices and Bpas doctors comply with the law."