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Volume 468: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the evidential basis was for the statement made by the Minister for Public Health to the Science and Technology Committee on 24 October that the Abortion Act 1967 did not require further amendment at the present time; whom she consulted before making this statement; what recent representations he has received on this statement from (a) hon. Members, (b) Members of the House of Lords and (c) members of the public; and if he will make a statement. (165745)

Departmental officials working in this area constantly review scientific evidence which might affect the science that underpins the Abortion Act 1967, as amended. As part of this ongoing work officials reviewed all of the evidence submitted to the Science and Technology Committee inquiry into scientific developments relating to the Abortion Act 1967 and agreed with the consensus of opinion which was that there was no new scientific evidence that warranted a change to the Act.

The Royal Colleges and Professional Bodies, including the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the British Medical Association, which the Department and the Government look to for advice submitted evidence to the Committee outlining their views, therefore no wider consultation was necessary.

Since 24 October we have received one representation in the form of an oral parliamentary question from hon. Members; no direct representations from the House of Lords and 84 letters on abortion issues in general from members of the public.