UK High Court rules to expose eugenic abortion statistics
Apr. 23, 2011
This week, the U.K.'s Department of Health lost the battle in the High Court to keep the details of late term abortions performed on babies based on the diagnosis that the child has a "serious" physical or mental abnormality secret.
This decision will force the Government to publish individual figures on how many abortions are carried out after 24 weeks on foetuses with physical abnormalities, including some relatively minor problems such as a cleft palate or clubfoot.
Ten years ago, the DoH published a statistic on abortions that showed that at least one unborn child had been killed for having a cleft palate - a condition that is easily treated surgically. A massive public outcry ensued and the lobby group Pro-Life Alliance demanded to know exactly how many children were being killed under "Ground E," which allows abortion in cases of suspected disability.
In October 2009, the Information Tribunal ordered the DoH to reveal statistical information on late-term abortions, but they refused.
The case was brought before the High Court, as the Information Rights Tribunal decided that "sensitive" abortion statistics should be released to the Pro-Life Alliance, who had been pressing for them since 2005.
Pro-life advocates welcomed the decision this week, saying it was a step towards redressing the "outrageous" imbalance between the rights of the mother and the unborn child. Whereas, pro-abortion groups described it as "deeply worrying and unethical", and stated that women could be identified by their publication and doctors might be "harassed".
Last night the department did not rule out taking the case to the Court of Appeal. Mr Justice Cranston gave it leave to appeal. A spokesman said: "The department will consider the implications of this judgment and the options available."
Sexual health charities called for an appeal. Simon Blake, chief executive of Brook, said: "The potential for women, particularly young women, to be identified is deeply worrying and unethical."
James Eadie QC, for the DoH, argued on Monday that publishing the figures could lead to "awful" consequences for patients. But Mr Justice Cranston ruled that the tribunal had made no error in law in concluding that the risk of identification was "extremely remote" and dismissed the department's bid. He also said the release of the material to the alliance was necessary to inform the public debate.
Josephine Quintavalle of the pro-life alliance welcomed the ruling and said that the organisation was "over the moon". She hoped it would lead to a reduction in late abortions of foetuses, which were "less than perfect".
Category | Abortion : Europe
Published By | Life Institute