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Foetal Viability

Volume 86: debated on Thursday 14 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he has taken to seek to implement the recommendation of the medical profession that the gestational age at which a foetus is considered viable should be changed to 24 weeks.

I am pleased to report that the proprietors of the eight nursing homes approved for abortions over 20 weeks' gestation have all agreed voluntarily to cease carrying out abortions at 24 weeks' gestation. This is an important step towards implementing the recommendation in the report of the working party convened by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on foetal viability and clinical practice. Gynaecologists working in the National Health Service should take account of the report's recommendation in their clinical practice, as the president of the Royal College has sent copies of the report to all fellows and members in this country.