British Abortion Probe Exposes Widespread Criminality
Up to one in five British abortion clinics is suspected of breaking the law and faces a police inquiry following an official investigation ordered by the Health Secretary. The regulator conducted a series of unannounced raids on every clinic offering abortions and found that a “shocking” number may be breaking the law. The Daily Telegraph reports that it understands that more than 250 private and NHS clinics were visited and more than 50 were “not in compliance” with the law or regulations. Doctors were regularly falsifying consent forms and patients were not receiving acceptable levels of advice and counselling in many clinics, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) discovered.
Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, said he was “shocked” by the findings of the CQC’s audit and was preparing to report doctors and organisations to the police. Many clinics may be stripped of the licences that allow them to offer abortions. Mr Lansley ordered the investigation into the clinics after The Telegraph disclosed that several were offering illegal sex-selection abortions and falsifying paperwork. He said the regulator had found that a number of clinics may be acting beyond the “spirit and letter of the law”.
“I was appalled,” he said. “Because if it happens, it is pretty much people engaging in a culture of both ignoring the law and trying to give themselves the right to say that although Parliament may have said this, we believe in abortion on demand.” He said it was not just a matter of enforcing the law. “There is the risk that women don’t get the appropriate level of pre-abortion support and counselling because, if your attitude is that, ‘You’ve arrived for an abortion and you should have one,’ well actually many women don’t get the degree of support they should.”
The main problem identified by the CQC was that doctors were “pre-signing” consent forms. The law requires the signatures of both the supervising consultant and a second professional who has either seen the patient or read the medical notes and the summary of a consultation. During inspections, regulators are understood to have found piles of “pre-signed forms”.
The Health Secretary said he was shocked by the pre-signing of certificates. “We’re talking about doctors who have professional responsibilities and it seems to me that you can’t satisfy your professional and ethical responsibilities [by pre-signing]. I completely understand the law doesn’t require the doctor to have met the woman concerned, but to pre-sign certificates when you don’t even know which woman it relates to and there hasn’t been an assessment, is completely contrary to the spirit and letter of the law.”
He added that action would be taken promptly. “We’re dealing with all this quickly,” Mr Lansley said. “If there is evidence of an offence we will give it directly to the police.”
The Health Secretary said pre-signing forms “constitutes a criminal offence” and could also lead to doctors being struck off by the General Medical Council. He warned that so-called abortion on demand was not acceptable. “It’s not what Parliament intended and it’s not what the law provides for,” he said. “My job is to enforce the law.”
The rigour of the Care Quality Commission, responsible for regulating abortion clinics, hospitals and care homes, has been repeatedly called into question since it was established in 2009. Last month, the commission’s chief executive resigned after a Department of Health report criticised the quango. Cynthia Bower stepped down from her £195,000-a-year post on the first day of The Daily Telegraph investigation into abortion clinics, which found that some doctors were offering terminations on the basis of gender and raised major concerns over the regulator. The level of potential abuse uncovered at abortion clinics is expected to lead to further searching questions over regulation in the past.
Ann Furedi, the chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), claimed that inspectors from the Care Quality Commission had been diverted from their duty of inspecting standards at institutions such as hospitals. Mrs Furedi suggested that the timing of the inspections was “absolutely wrong” and risked jeopardising other work undertaken by the CQC.
Are we surprised to learn that abortionists are not following the law in Britian either? "Lets make criminal acts legal" and give criminals free reign and that's supposed to work?