NRL News

MPs demand investigation into pre-signed abortion forms; editorial sees “history repeating itself”

by | May 2, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

Ten days ago NRL News Today dealt with the scandal of abortionists in England skipping over one of the very few requirements they must (in theory) observe: sign a form saying that continuing the pregnancy could cause the woman physical or emotional harm.

In fact the scandal was two-fold. Not only had at least 67 abortionists illegally signed blank abortion forms for women seeking abortions in England, they went unpunished by the General Medical Council (GMC).

According to The Daily Telegraph Social Affairs Editor John Bingham, “The GMC said the practice was ‘wrong’ and that it has ordered the doctors to ‘obey the law’ but nevertheless decided against bringing fitness to practise hearings saying that what they had done was ‘common practice.'” The GMC also refused to name the abortionists.

As we reported, the discovery of the pre-approvals came as a byproduct of an undercover investigation by the Daily Telegraph which proved beyond dispute that there are abortionists in England who will abort a child because the mother says she does not want a girl. In response the CQC carried out spot checks of 250 abortion providers in 2012.

Click here to read the April issue of
National Right to Life News,
the “pro-life newspaper of record.”

This week Bingham reported that “A cross-party group of MPs has written to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police [Scotland Yard] demanding a criminal investigation into evidence that dozens of doctors pre-signed abortion forms without knowing anything about the women concerned.”

The 1967 Abortion Act requires two abortionists to agree that the physical or mental health of the child [!] or the woman is in jeopardy. “The act makes clear that they must sign to certify that they formed the opinion ‘in good faith,’” Bingham wrote.

But the letter from the 11 MPs observes, “As it is impossible to come to a medical judgment without knowing any of the details of a patient’s case, pre-signing is considered illegal.”

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, gave Bingham a series of on the one hand, on the other hand responses:

“We do accept that clinical practice in this area has changed over the years, both in the way abortions are carried out and with different roles being taken on by different professionals,” he said. “However, that does not alter the obligation on doctors and other professionals to obey the law.”

Further, “We have been clear that the pre-signing of forms under the Abortion Act was wrong even though it had apparently become common practice.

“When we became aware of the matter we required those doctors who had pre-signed forms to provide us with formal assurances that they would cease this practice immediately.” Penalties? None now, but “[W]ere they to breach this undertaking there would be serious consequences.”

The Daily Telegraph wrote a blistering editorial that appeared yesterday: “Abortion: no doctor should be immune from the law.”  It deftly tied together the investigations into sex selection abortion and pre-signed abortion forms.

In the former case, even though the Crown Prosecution Service agreed that there was enough evidence to bring charges and secure a prosecution against the two abortionists, it “refused to proceed on the grounds of ‘public interest.’”

In the latter case, the editorial pointed out that the GMC said the practice was wrong and told them to obey the law. “But, incredibly, it declined to hold fitness to practise hearings against them on the grounds that they had only engaged in ‘common practice.’” The editorial rightly concluded, “history is repeating itself.”

The conclusion is stronger than virtually anything you will see in the British press and is worth quoting in its entirety:

“This whole episode smacks of doctors protecting their own. Or else they have a fear about addressing abortion-based issues because they are so controversial. But such squeamishness is unethical and illogical. If doctors were caught breaking the law on the matter of, say, organ transplants, action would be swift and public. There is no reason why anything related to abortion should be so politely brushed under the carpet. Whether one agrees with legalised abortion or not, the way a termination is conducted should be in full accordance with the law of the land. No doctor should operate above that important principle.”

Please join those who are following me on Twitter at Send your comments to