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LONDON March 18, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new poll has found there is massive public opposition to government proposals to further loosen the UK’s remaining legal restrictions on abortion.

The government proposes to abolish the requirement for women to get a consultation in person with a doctor before scheduling an abortion. But a ComRes poll has shown nearly 90 percent of the British public is opposed. Pro-life critics of the plan say it is the greatest liberalization of the abortion practice in the UK since legalization in 1967.

The poll of 2,000 people was commissioned from ComRes by the Christian Institute and released by the Daily Telegraph. It found that 89 percent agree that “a woman requesting an abortion should always be seen in person by a qualified doctor.” Eighty-five percent of men polled agreed with the statement and 92 percent of women. 

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“Just over three quarters also thought that women’s health could be put at risk unless doctors signing authorisation forms had seen the patient, with 73 per cent of men agreeing but 78 per cent of women,” the Telegraph reports.

“The Government is in a complete mess over these changes, which might be open to legal challenge and are certainly against the intention of this law,” said Colin Hart, director of The Christian Institute. “The two doctor rule, reaffirmed by the last Labour Government in 1999 was designed to protect the lives of women and their unborn babies.”

The new draft guidelines for private abortion facilities state that it is “not a legal requirement” to see a doctor before being approved for an abortion. The proposal was put forward by Andrew Lansley, the former Health Secretary, in consultation with “abortion providers” and has functionally abolished the rule that a woman seeking an abortion must be seen by a doctor in person.

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Lansley was prominent among the critics of the same private “abortion providers” when it was revealed in 2012 that there was widespread flouting of the rules in the UK’s for-profit abortion facilities. In February 2012, the Daily Telegraph newspaper revealed the results of a nation-wide sting operation that found doctors were allowing abortion for sex selection and the nation’s for-profit abortion facilities, such as Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, were keeping stacks of forms, previously signed sight-unseen by doctors, to effectively hand out abortion permissions without clients going near a physician.

At the time, Lansley told the media, “I was rather 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.”

“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.”

Lansley called for an investigation, but then the government dragged its heels. Later, an investigation by the independent Quality Care Commission found that the country’s private abortion facilities routinely ignored the rules. At the same time, abortionists used the publicity generated to call for an abolition of the same rules, claiming that they restricted women’s “access to abortion.” Now, two years on, Lansley has issued the guidance demanded by the abortionists.

Dr. Peter Saunders, a former surgeon and the president of the Christian Medical Fellowship said the changes amount to the “largest liberalisation of abortion practice since the passing of the Abortion Act in 1967.” The Act allows for “terminations” upon the approval of two physicians who believe “in good faith” that the mother’s “life or health” is “at risk.” Abortions for children suspected of “serious” disabilities are allowed without gestational time limit. 

Lansley, however, had already tried in 2008, as an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill, to abolish the two-doctor consultation rule. Now, as leader of the House of Commons, Saunders said that with the new guidelines, Lansley has “managed to smuggle in what is in effect a nurse-led abortion service without the issue ever being discussed in parliament and without the knowledge of most of his own party colleagues.”

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