Parliamentary Inquiry into Freedom of Conscience in Abortion Provision

Parliamentary Inquiry Report

Published Thursday 21 July 2016.

 

Final Report

Press Release

Parliamentary Inquiry Terms of Reference

The terms of reference of the Inquiry are:

 

  • To assess the extent to which the Conscience Clause provides adequate protection for doctors who do not wish to participate, directly or indirectly, in the provision of abortions;
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  • To assess the extent to which the Conscience Clause provides adequate protection for other health professionals who do not wish to participate, directly or indirectly, in the provision of abortions;
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  • To examine how freedom of conscience in the law and professional guidance can be developed for healthcare professionals going forward.
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Section 4 of the Abortion Act (1967) requires that ‘no person shall be under any duty, whether by contract or by any statutory or other legal requirement, to participate in any treatment authorised by this Act to which he has a conscientious objection’. Commonly known as the ‘Conscience Clause’, the purpose of this section of the 1967 legislation was to enable men and women with conscientious objections to abortion to remain fully engaged in providing healthcare without being compelled to participate in the provision of abortion.

 

This short Inquiry will examine whether the Conscience Clause continues to provide adequate protection for healthcare professionals who do not wish to be involved, directly or indirectly, in the provision of abortions. The Inquiry particularly welcomes examples of good and bad practice in the use of the Conscience Clause.

 

Inquiry chair: Fiona Bruce MP / fiona.bruce.mp@parliament.uk / 020 7219 2969. © Copyright Parliamentary Inquiry into Freedom of Conscience in Abortion Provision 2016. Privacy and Cookies. This is not an official website of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. This Inquiry is run by the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group. All Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues.