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Written Question
Abortion: Drugs
5 Jul 2021

Questioner: David Jones (CON - Clwyd West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will commission independent research on the impact of early medical abortions on (a) those experiencing domestic violence, (b) trafficked women and sex workers and (c) other vulnerable groups before any decision on their continuation is made.

Answered by Helen Whately

There are no plans to do so. commission research on these issues. The Government’s public consultation on whether to make permanent the temporary measure allowing for home use of both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation for all eligible women asked questions on the impact of making permanent the temporary measure on people with protected characteristics. The consultation also sought views on the potential for making permanent home use of both pills for early medical abortion to reduce or increase inequality in health outcomes experienced by different socioeconomic groups. The consultation has now closed and we will be considering all evidence submitted and plan to publish our response later this year.


Written Question
Abortion
2 Jul 2021

Questioner: Edward Leigh (CON - Gainsborough)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the research by Hakansson et alia, published in the journal Pediatrics in July 2004, on increases in the number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation that can survive outside the womb and the increase in that number with proactive perinatal care, what plans his Department has to review the time limits on abortion in the UK.

Answered by Helen Whately

It is for Parliament to decide whether to make any changes to the law on abortion. As with other matters of conscience, abortion is an issue on which the Government adopts a neutral stance and allows hon. Members to vote according to their moral, ethical or religious beliefs.


Written Question
Abortion: Drugs
1 Jul 2021

Questioner: David Jones (CON - Clwyd West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's consultation, Home use of both pills for early medical abortion, which closed on 26 February 2021, whether individuals or organisations other than Ministers or officials of his Department (a) have and (b) have had access in real time to the responses to that consultation received by his Department; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Helen Whately

A external company has been contracted by the Department to undertake independent analysis of consultation responses. They are able to access data for reporting and analysis purposes at the Department’s request and are supporting the impartial analysis of responses to the consultation on the temporary approval. The strength and robustness of evidence or research submitted as part of this consultation will be assessed and considered alongside any potential conflicts of interest.


Written Question
Abortion: Drugs
1 Jul 2021

Questioner: David Jones (CON - Clwyd West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's consultation, Home use of both pills for early medical abortion, which closed on 26 February 2021, what steps he is taking to ensure the impartial assessment and evaluation of empirical evidence collected in the course of that consultation.

Answered by Helen Whately

A external company has been contracted by the Department to undertake independent analysis of consultation responses. They are able to access data for reporting and analysis purposes at the Department’s request and are supporting the impartial analysis of responses to the consultation on the temporary approval. The strength and robustness of evidence or research submitted as part of this consultation will be assessed and considered alongside any potential conflicts of interest.


Written Question
Abortion: Research
10 Jun 2021

Questioner: Fiona Bruce (CON - Congleton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of research on abortion at home that has not been co-authored by people representing abortion providers; and what approach his Department takes in respect of research that is undertaken by people and organisations that have a financial and reputational interest in its results.

Answered by Helen Whately

No specific assessment has been made. The Government committed to undertake a public consultation on whether to make permanent the temporary measure allowing for home use of both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation for all eligible women. The consultation has now closed and we will be considering all evidence submitted and plan to publish our response later this year. Any evidence or research submitted as part of this consultation will be reviewed and considered alongside any potential conflicts of interest.


Written Question
Abortion: Drugs
19 May 2021

Questioner: Jim Shannon (DUP - Strangford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is undertaking research on abortion pill reversal procedures.

Answered by Helen Whately

The Department is not undertaking any research on abortion pill reversal procedures.


Written Question
Abortion: Health Education
25 Mar 2021

Questioner: Nick Fletcher (CON - Don Valley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps with the Secretary of State for Education to make it his policy to prevent distribution of the Abortion and Abortion Care Factsheet produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare in 2019 in schools until it has been (a) peer reviewed and (b) updated with recent research developments on fetal pain.

Answered by Helen Whately

The Department is not responsible for production of this factsheet and has no role in its distribution. It is for individual schools to determine whether they use the factsheet.


Written Question
Abortion
1 Mar 2021

Questioner: Lord Taylor of Warwick (Non-affiliated - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 29 December 2020 (HL11398), when the research by the King’s Fund on patterns of abortion uptake in England, commissioned by the Department for Health and Social Care, will be published.

Answered by Lord Bethell

This work was paused in 2020 due to COVID-19. The research is now due to conclude in late spring and will be published shortly afterwards.


Written Question
Babies: Pain
3 Feb 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 1340 on Fetal Pain.

Answered by Helen Whately

The Department does not set clinical practice. To support clinical practice, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has considered the issue of fetal pain and awareness in its guidelines on ‘The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion’ and ‘Fetal Awareness: Review of Research and Recommendations for Practice’, which are available at the following links:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/abortion-guideline_web_1.pdf

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/rcogfetalawarenesswpr0610.pdf


Written Question
Abortion
13 Jan 2021

Questioner: Andrea Jenkyns (CON - Morley and Outwood)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the information provided to women undergoing consultation for late-term abortions; and whether women undergoing those consultations are informed that a child could live at 22 weeks outside the womb and feel pain.

Answered by Helen Whately

The Department does not set clinical practice. To support clinical practice, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has considered the issue of fetal pain and awareness in its guidelines on The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion and Fetal Awareness: Review of Research and Recommendations for Practice, which is available at the following links:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/abortion-guideline_web_1.pdf

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/rcogfetalawarenesswpr0610.pdf

The RCOG have identified the Report ‘Fetal Awareness: Review and Recommendations for Practice’ should be reviewed, following the recent publication of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Guidance on best practice abortion care.


Written Question
Foetuses: Pain
14 Dec 2020

Questioner: Fiona Bruce (CON - Congleton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2019 to Question 269708, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' steps to prevent foetal pain since July 2019.

Answered by Helen Whately

The Department does not set clinical practice. To support clinical practice, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has considered the issue of fetal pain and awareness in its guidelines on ‘The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion’ and ‘Fetal Awareness: Review of Research and Recommendations for Practice’, which are available at the following links:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/abortion-guideline_web_1.pdf

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/rcogfetalawarenesswpr0610.pdf


Written Question
Abortion: Analgesics
1 Dec 2020

Questioner: Mary Glindon (LAB - North Tyneside)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to ensure the use of direct fetal analgesia prior to late-term abortions.

Answered by Helen Whately

The Department does not set clinical practice. To support clinical practice, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has considered the issue of fetal pain and awareness in its guidelines ‘The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion’ and ‘Fetal Awareness: Review of Research and Recommendations for Practice’, which are available at the following links:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/abortion-guideline_web_1.pdf

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/rcogfetalawarenesswpr0610.pdf


Written Question
Abortion
4 Nov 2020

Questioner: Edward Leigh (CON - Gainsborough)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on second trimester abortion of the finding of the British Medical Journal article, Reconsidering fetal pain, published on 14 January 2020 that pain emerges around 18-20 weeks of gestation.

Answered by Helen Whately

The Department does not set clinical practice. To support clinical practice, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has considered the issue of fetal pain and awareness in its guideline on ‘Fetal Awareness: Review of Research and Recommendations for Practice’, published in March 2010.

The Department has brought the article by Dr Stuart W G Derbyshire and John C Bockmann to the attention of the RCOG. It is for the RCOG to consider whether to revise the guidelines, having looked at the available evidence.


Written Question
Developing Countries: Genito-urinary Medicine
29 Sep 2020

Questioner: Baroness Tonge

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what self-care intervention sexual and reproductive health and rights services they support in developing countries.

Answered by Baroness Sugg

The UK supports safe, accessible and affordable self-care interventions as part of our commitment to ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in developing countries. This is more important than ever given the detrimental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on accessibility of SRHR services.

The UK has invested in the roll out of self-injectable contraceptives in over 35 countries through our partner UNFPA Supplies, our flagship Women's Integrated Health Programme (WISH) and FCDO's bilateral health programmes.

The UK is also working with governments to increase the availability and affordability of quality-assured combi-packs for safe medical abortion in contexts where it is legal. UK funded research is helping to develop a new self-care product, a monthly vaginal ring to help reduce the risk of HIV transmission which can be administered by women themselves. And we are working with partners, including WISH, to expand the use of self-care delivery and telemedicine as part of their COVID-19 response to maintain access to vital SRHR services.


Written Question
India: Abortion
28 Sep 2020

Questioner: Baroness Stroud (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the research by Fengqing Chao et al Probabilistic projection of the sex ratio at birth and missing female births by State and Union Territory in India, published on 19 August, what representations they have made to the government of India about preventing sex-selective abortion.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

We have not made any representations to the Government of India about this.

The UK strongly opposes sex-selective abortion. The UK supports partner governments' efforts to prevent this discrimination through our programmes to promote gender equality, girls' and women's empowerment and rights. In India, the British High Commission in New Delhi and our network of Deputy High Commissions work closely with civil society and non-governmental organisations that are directly promoting women's awareness of their rights. We also continue to promote empowerment through events and campaigns such as "International Women's Day", the "International Day of the Girl Child" and the "Kick like a Girl" project which trained adolescent girls on leadership skills.