HL Deb 10 February 1998 vol 585 c159WA
Lord Braine of Wheatley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 2 February (WA 79)indicating that an aborted foetus which is not born dead should have the protection of the law, what action they have taken or now plan to take to see that this requirement is enforced. [HL469]

Baroness Jay of Paddington

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has issued to all its Fellows and Members guidance on late abortions, which they define as abortions over 21 weeks gestation.

In addition, private sector clinics and hospitals must receive the Secretary of State for Health's additional approval to carry out late termination of pregnancy (20–24 weeks gestation). Arrangements must be made with a neonatal unit on site or at a nearby hospital for the immediate transfer of any live born infant. The clinic/hospital is required to provide all the necessary emergency treatment for any live born infant, pending transfer to the neonatal unit. This requirement is contained in the Compendium of Guidance, key extracts from which were sent to all health authorities and National Health Service trusts in 1995.

Clinics are monitored for compliance with the department's requirements.