§ Dr. Mawhinney
The Department funded a major study by the Manchester research unit of the Royal College of General Practitioners into the long and short-term sequelae of abortion. The study ran from 1976 to the end of 1990. A number of papers have been either published or are in the public arena having been presented through conferences. Only one of these papers, that on the psychiatric sequelae of abortion, addressed the effects of post-abortion trauma. The paper was presented to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of General Practitioners on 7 November 1990. The final conclusions of this part of the study are expected to be published later this year.
§ Mr. Alton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research her Department is conducting as to the stage of development at which the unborn child experiences pain; what steps she is taking to reduce the level of pain experienced by an unborn child which is aborted; and if she will make a statement.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
The Department is not currently supporting any such research. The abortion procedure is a matter for the clinical judgment of the doctor concerned in discussion with the patient.
§ Mr. Sackville
The number of abortions performed in the National Health Service in England, Wales and Scotland in each of the last 10 years for which full figures are available is shown in the table. Information on the number of applications for an NHS abortion which were refused is not available centrally.
Number of National Health Service abortions England, Wales and Scotland 1981–1990 Year Number of NHS abortions1 1981 72,430 1982 75,144 1983 75,694
Year Number of NHS abortions1 1984 78,776 1985 80,168 1986 83,800 1987 86,828 1988 88,439 1989 89,980 1990 93,312 1 These figures include those abortions carried out in England and Wales under an agency agreement (operations carried out in non-NHS premises on NHS patients).