HC Deb 27 February 1953 vol 511 c2506

Order for Second Reading read.

3.59 p.m.

Mr. Joseph Reeves (Greenwich)

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."

Because of certain pronouncements which have been made in the Press as well as upon platforms, I must make it clear from the outset that it is not the object of the promoters of this Bill to extend the practice of abortion. On the contrary, it is to confine it to cases where, in the view of competent medical practitioners, it is in the interest of the mother's health and for the prevention of injury to her body. In such cases unmistakable authority should be given to the medical profession to act in the interests of the patient.

Under the law at present, a great deal of uncertainty prevails, although certain judgments have seemed to provide protection for qualified practitioners performing operations in the interests of the mother. Many doctors are inhibited in their duty to their patients on account of the existing statutes on this subject. Because there appears to be some uncertainty as to the interpretation of Clause I (a) of this Bill, the promoters are prepared to accept such redrafting or redefinition as will ensure that the term "person" used in the tenth line of the Bill refers to a registered medical practitioner—

It being Four o'Clock, further Proceeding stood adjourned.

Bill to be read a Second time upon Friday next.