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Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee Report on Scientific Developments Relating to the Abortion Act 1967

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The Science and Technology Committee issued its report on scientific developments which ought to be considered in any new Parliamentary debate relating to abortion. In summary the main report, which is strongly anti–life and contrary to the weight of evidence submitted to the Committee, was supported by eight of the eleven members of the committee, including the chairman Phil Willis. Links to media coverage and opinion poll listed below.

The Committee concluded that:

  • There is no scientific basis to reduce the 24 week upper limit for abortion.

  • The requirement for two doctors’ signatures before an abortion can be carried out should be removed.

  • Nurses and midwives should be allowed to carry out early abortions.

  • An exhaustive list of abnormalities on what constitutes “serious handicap” (which is used as a reason for aborting foetuses after 24 weeks) is not feasible, but that guidance on the meaning would be helpful.

  • Foetal pain is not relevant to the question of abortion law.

A minority Report (contained in the Committee’s report at page 71) was proposed by Nadine Dorries and seconded by Bob Spink, essentially rejects the committee's findings. The minority report also highlights the misgivings on the oral evidence selection process. Of the 18 witnesses chosen to give evidence before the Committee, 13 were pro-abortion and only 5 pro-life.

Read The Science and Technology Committee Report and Press Release below


Full members of the committee:

Mr Phil Willis MP, Liberal Democrat, Harrogate and Knaresborough, (Chairman)

Adam Afriyie MP, Conservative, Windsor

Mrs Nadine Dorries MP, Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire

Mr Robert Flello MP, Labour, Stoke-on-Trent South

Linda Gilroy MP, Labour, Plymouth Sutton

Dr Evan Harris MP, Liberal Democrat, Oxford West & Abingdon

Dr Brian Iddon MP, Labour, Bolton South East

Chris Mole MP, Labour/Co-op, Ipswich

Dr Bob Spink MP, Conservative, Castle Point

Graham Stringer MP, Labour, Manchester, Blackley

Dr Desmond Turner MP, Labour, Brighton Kemptown

You can read the media response to Science and Technology Committee Report below


Public Opinion Statistics:

  • 76% of people, including fully 81% of women, think abortion a baby at six months' pregnancy is cruel (Choose Life/ComRes May 06)

  • 68% of people, including 72% of women, want a substantial reduction in the upper time limit to around 13 weeks (Life/ComRes Sept 07)

  • 55% of people regard the present law allowing abortion up to birth on grounds of disability as unacceptable (Choose Life/ComRes May 06)

  • 69% of people think that making abortion available too easily cheapens the value of young life (Life/ComRes Sept 07)

  • 75% think that preventing alternatives by offering attractive alternatives is better for women (Life/ComRes Sept 07)