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Abortion Act 1967

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward proposals to amend section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act 1967 to provide a definition of the words seriously handicapped; what recent representations he has received about this issue; and if he will make a statement. (186247)

Parliament did not define serious handicap in the Act. It chose to leave this to the expert judgment of the two doctors involved, who are required to form their own opinion about the seriousness of the handicap the child would suffer if born, taking into account the facts and circumstances of each individual case.

The Department has received nine letters on the topic of abortion for fetal abnormality in the last six months.