Parliamentary Inquiry Terms of Reference
The terms of reference of the Inquiry are:
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.