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Is one in five UK abortion clinics breaking the law?

March 30th, 2012

by Michael Cook

Servile deference to abortion rights has led doctors to think that they are above the law.

“I will do all government paperwork conscientiously” is not a clause in the Hippocratic Oath. Yet it is a significant aspect of an ethical doctor’s day-to-day work. Government red tape is an exasperating burden, but doctors have no special privileges before the law.

Politicians lose their jobs for falsifying their expenses. Accountants can be jailed for fudging audits. Scientists are stripped of their funding when they falsify data. Shouldn’t doctors feel obliged to follow the letter of the law, too – especially when lives are at stake?

Last week the London Telegraph revealed that doctors at many British abortion clinics were routinely falsifying their paperwork. The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, was outraged and vowed to crack down on clinics which were operating outside the law.

“I was appalled. Because if it happens, it is pretty much people engaging in a culture of both ignoring the law and trying to give themselves the right to say that although Parliament may have said this, we believe in abortion on demand.”

In the wake of revelations in February, also in the Telegraph, that some doctors were routinely approving illegal sex-selective abortions, the government regulator, the Care Quality Commission, raided every clinic offering abortions. Of about 250 clinics, both government-run and private, 50 were found to have falsified paperwork. Although abortion is a common procedure in Britain, it still requires the approval of two doctors. The main offense uncovered by the raid was that doctors were pre-signing the consent forms in bulk.

Mr Lansley was also disturbed that patients were not receiving adequate counselling. He pointed out that this was not just a matter of pettifogging paperwork:

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