British doctors face jail over fake abortion consent

March 24th, 2012 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 24 (IANS) The British government has warned that doctors who were found illegally carrying out abortions by faking consent forms would be put behind bars.

The warning was issued after it emerged that one in five clinics investigated by the health watchdog was routinely breaking the law by not complying with official guidelines, the Daily Mail reported.

The inspectors discovered that some doctors were signing consent forms allowing women to undergo abortions without knowing anything about their circumstances or why they wanted the procedure. This breaches Britain’s Abortion Act.

By law, a woman can only undergo an abortion once two doctors have signed a form declaring that continuing with the pregnancy would put her physical and mental health at risk.

Over the last two weeks the Care Quality Commission, the watchdog, has been undertaking spot check inspections of around 250 abortion clinics in Britain.

In a statement to parliament, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has pledged to take swift action and also warned that offending clinics could be shut down.

A Department of Health spokesman confirmed that doctors could face jail for breaching the Act.

Lansley ordered the inspections after an undercover investigation found that some doctors were apparently authorising abortions for women just because the foetus was a particular sex, which is against the law.

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