Abortion Act What is meant by abortion? Abortion is defined in the dictionary as, “The expulsion of a foetus (naturally or by medical induction) from the womb before it is able to survive independently (around 28 weeks).” This simply means the foetus is removed by either a natural or medical procedure before the time of the natural birth would have occurred, before the foetus could support its own life. Their are in fact three types of abortion. They are: Voluntary – when the mother decides to have an abortion out of choice, Therapeutic – carried out when the mothers health is in danger and Spontaneous – when the foetus dies during the pregnancy (the same as a miscarriage). The Abortion Act is what is used to determine whether an abortion is justified, it was passed in 1967 and then amended in 1990. Currently it states that: 1967 Abortion Act An abortion may be performed legally if two or more doctors certify that: 1.
The mental and physical health of the woman, or her existing children, will suffer if the pregnancy continues. Or… 2. The child, if born, would be seriously physically or mentally handicapped. 1990 amendment As the 1967 Act, except that the time limit for when an abortion can be carried out was reduced to 24 weeks.
This Act means a pregnant woman has the right to an abortion if: 1. Upon keeping the pregnancy, and therefore having the child, the mother and/or any children she already has would be harming their physical or mental well being. 2. The foetus has been shown to have either a physical or mental disability and therefore would be born handicapped. If two doctors both agree that the woman suffers from either of the points, then abortion is a legal option, as long as the pregnancy has not gone more than 24 weeks after conception.
A 15 yr. old girl is pregnant and has requested and abortion without her parents knowing and with no intention to do so. The girl would be allowed an abortion even though she is too young (under 16) to give consent for the medical procedure to take place. The grounds the girl would be allowed the abortion under would be under the first section of the 1967 Act, the pregnancy if continued, would pose a risk to the mothers own mental health. An amniocentesis test shows that the baby has a serious deformity.
There is no doubt that an abortion would be legal in this circumstance, it falls exactly under the second section of the 1967 Act, because the baby, if born, would be either seriously physically or mentally handicapped. The pregnancy was a result of rape. An abortion would be permitted to the mother, because keeping the pregnancy would cause the mothers mental health to suffer, this the first section of the 1967 Act. The Abortion Act allows for most abortions to go ahead, as it is open to various interpretations (especially in the first section). One scenario where an abortion would not be permitted would be: A scan has shown that the baby is female and the parents want a boy.
These would not be significant grounds for an abortion to be said to be legal. However it could be argued that it would cause the mother mental distress, but it is does not really pose a serious threat to her health. However there has been a case of a mother who had two abortions on the NHS because she didnt like the looks of either of the fathers.