A more recent version of these Contraception And Abortion notes – written by Oxford students – is available here.
The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Medical Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:
Abortion Abortion and the Law
Criminal offences o Offences Against the Person Act 1861 s.58 -
? Offence to procure a miscarriage (either your own or someone else's) o OAPA 1861 s.59 -
? Offence to supply or procure a poisonous or noxious thing or instrument o Infant Life Preservation Act 1929 - s.1
? (1)Offence to intend to destroy the life of a child capable of being born alive
No person shall be found guilty of this offence unless it is proved that the Act was not gone in good faith for the purpose of preserving the life of the mother
? (2) Evidence that a woman had been pregnant for a 28 weeks or more shall be prima facie proof that she was at the time pregnant of a child capable of being born alive
Abortion Act 1967 works as defence o Four key requirements
? The need for a registered medical practitioner to do the procedure (or under the supervision thereof)
? NHS hospital or approved place
? Two medical practitioners need to agree on one of the statutory grounds in good faith
Probably don't need to agree on the same ground, just as long as agree within one of them
Doctors need only believe the ground in good faith, need not be right o Paton v BPAS :
? George Baker P
It would be a bold and brave judge to interfere with the discretion of doctors acting under the [AA 1967]
But I think it would be really be a foolish judge who would try such a thing o Unless there is clear bad faith.
? Notification to Sec State that an abortion has taken place. o Grounds: (s.1(1) of the AA, as amended by the HFEA 1990)
? (a) that the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty fourth week
And that the continuation of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated o Of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family
o From when? From the moment of conception? From discovery? From last period?
? None of these approaches are satisfactory
The latter is the easiest medically to date, but the others are very uncertain
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