Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Is 'partial birth' abortion legal in the UK? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Is 'partial birth' abortion legal in the UK?
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: dicconb-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 19 Jun 2005 10:01 PDT
Expires: 19 Jul 2005 10:01 PDT
Question ID: 534815
Is Partial-Birth abortion (Intact Dilation & Extraction as defined on
the BBC website
legal in the UK?  (and if so, which criteria must be met?)

Avenues exhausted:
Wikipedia: Intact_dilation_and_extraction, partial-birth_abortion
(refers only to US legislation on PBA)
Wikipedia: Abortion_in_the_United_Kingdom (doesn't refer to methods
used after 18 weeks)
Abortion Rights UK:
(doesn't mention partial birth)
Subject: Re: Is 'partial birth' abortion legal in the UK?
Answered By: richard-ga on 19 Jun 2005 11:59 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello and thank you for your question.

The current law on abortion is contained in: 

Abortion Act (1967)
as amended by Section 37 of
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990)

Neither statute limits the surgical or chemical methods that are
permissible to carry out a legal abortion.  So in answer to your
question, Intact Dilation & Extraction, not being illegal, is legal.

The UK law defines the circumstances in which abortion can be performed legally.

Abortion is allowed up to 24 weeks on condition that continuing with
the pregnancy involves a greater risk to:

the physical or mental health of the woman, or
the physical or mental health of the woman's existing children than
having a termination.
When establishing the level of risk to health, doctors can take into
consideration a woman's ?actual or reasonably foreseeable
environment', which includes her personal and social situation.
Abortion is also allowed if there is a substantial risk that if the
child were born it would ?suffer from such physical or mental
abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped'.

Abortion is allowed after 24 weeks if there is: 

risk to the life of the woman,
evidence of severe fetal abnormality, or
risk of grave physical and mental injury to the woman. 
An abortion must be: 

agreed by two doctors (one in an emergency) and
carried out by a doctor, and
carried out in a government-approved hospital or clinic."

Bpas states on its website that it does not perform abortions where
the 24-week limit has been passed.
"Each year, Bpas, Britain's leading provider of abortion care, helps
50,000 women with abortions. We are also called by about 100 others
who have passed the 24-week gestation limit. We tell them abortion is
no longer a legal option in Britain."

Since as noted in the website that you quoted in your question, "any
women who opt for "partial-birth" abortions do so because their
foetuses have severe or fatal anomalies or because the pregnancy
endangers their lives or health."  Thus it would be legal for Bpas or
another agency to provide the partial birth procedure in that
circumstance, but it appears to be against Bpa's policy to do so.

Bills have been recommended in 1996-1997 to prohibit partial-birth
abortions, but it has not become law.

Search terms used:
bpas abortion extraction
bpas "22 weeks"  "partial birth"
"Abortion Act" 1967
"Abortion Act" "partial birth"

Thanks again for letting us help
Google Answers Researcher
dicconb-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Good answer, promptly delivered.



There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy