HC Deb 20 December 1957 vol 580 cc121-2W
Mrs. L. Jeger

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he has given to the report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Abortion which was submitted in 1939; and what action he proposes to take to implement the recommendations of the Committee.

Mr. R. A. Butler

So far as my Department is concerned the Committee's principal recommendation was that, subject to certain safeguards, the law should be amended to make it clear that a doctor would not commit an offence if, in good faith, he terminated a pregnancy which he considered likely to endanger the mother's life or seriously to impair her

each year since 1945 until the present year; and how many of these are known or suspected to be due to poisoning.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The following table gives the information for which my hon. Friend asks:

health. Legislation for this purpose would be highly controversial and I have no reason to think that there is any practical need for it. I do not propose to introduce legislation to implement certain minor recommendations designed to facilitate prosecutions for criminal abortion.

The recommendation that the Poisons Board should be consulted on the desirability of placing further restrictions on the sale of certain abortifacients was implemented in June, 1939; the Board did not recommend any action. The recommendation that a circular should be sent to coroners about the importance of the vigilant investigation of deaths resulting from abortion was implemented in October, 1939.