Sunday, 18 October 2009

Astounding judgement on abortion data

On Thursday the Information Tribunal ruled that Department of Health must release statistical data on abortions that take place after 24 weeks owing to foetal abnormality. This comes at the end of a six year effort from Department of Health to ensure that the confidentiality of the small number of women who have to make an incredibly difficult decision to terminate their pregnancy at a late stage of gestation is protected.

The Department of Health stopping publishing the data in 2003 after the Reverend Joanna Jepson asked the Metropolitan Police to investigate a case which led to a doctor being identified and targeted by an anti choice organisation .

I had been expecting the judgement imminently, however you know when you are shocked and have to reread an email a few times to be sure you have read it right - this was one of those emails. I was particularly surprised that the judgement went against the DH because when the case was being heard in the Courts, a high profile doctor who carried out abortions in the USA was shot dead by an individual who opposed his work - and whilst there is a different culture here there is no doubt that individuals can and do get targeted in the UK as well.

That is why both Brook and fpa have urged the DH to take this case to the high court. If a small number of women and their doctors are going to be failed by a system which potentially allows anti abortion groups to identify and put pressure on individuals then I for one want to be sure that everything that could possibly be done to stop this incredibly damaging move has been done.

1 comment:

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