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The U.K. Department of Health is going to court to stop figures being published on the number of late abortions on “less than perfect” fetuses with physical abnormalities such as cleft palate and club foot:

Eighteen months ago an Information Rights Tribunal ruled that the numbers of women who had late abortions because their unborn babies had such conditions should be published, even if there were just one or two in each category.

That decision followed a campaign by the Pro–Life Alliance (PLA), which opposes abortion, for a full breakdown by condition, under freedom of information legislation. Abortion on “social” grounds is only legal in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

But “Ground E” of the 1967 Abortion Act makes it legal to abort a foetus right up to birth if there is a substantial risk of “serious” physical or mental abnormality.

Until 2002 the Department of Health published a full breakdown of figures every year. They showed that in 2001 a 28–week–old foetus with a cleft palate was aborted. Doctors can normally remedy the condition after birth with an operation.

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