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Rights of the Unborn in the UK and EU - Essay Example

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Teenage pregnancy rates in Britain reached 41.5 per 1,000 girls age 15-17 in 2006 the Guardian reported. Of those pregnancies, 46 percent ended in abortion. The Morning After Pill was made accessible to girls as young as 12 in over the…
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Rights of the Unborn in the UK and EU
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Download file to see previous pages is that continuing with the pregnancy involves a greater risk to the physical or mental health of the woman, or her existing children, than having a termination. Abortion of up to 24 weeks is allowed if there is a substantial risk that the child when born would suffer "such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped. The second condition is that an abortion must be agreed by two doctors and carried out by a doctor in a government-approved hospital or clinic.
The right to life of the unborn was historically protected by British laws on abortion. The English common law did not prosecute for abortions performed before quickening. In 1803, with Lord Ellenboroughs Act, Parliament enacted statutes overriding this relatively lenient stance (Potts Diggory, and Peel 1977). In 1861 Parliament passed the Offences against the Person Act. Section 58 of the Act made abortion a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment from three years to life even when performed for medical reasons. Two laws, the Infant Life Preservation Act 1929 and Abortion Act of 1967 provided the exceptions to this 1861 Act. In 1929, the Infant Life Preservation Act amended the law stating it would no longer be regarded as a felony if abortion was carried out in good faith for the sole purpose of preserving the life of the mother. The Act made it illegal to kill a child capable of being born alive, and enshrined 28 weeks as the age at which a fetus is presumed to be viable. The Act allowed a doctor to perform an abortion legally if he/she was satisfied that the continuance of the pregnancy was liable to endanger the health of the expectant mother. In 1938, the Bourne case unfolded. The Bourne case concerned a young woman was gang raped by a group of soldiers and became pregnant. Dr Alec Bourne agreed to perform an abortion for her and was subsequently prosecuted. The judge agreed that forcing her to continue with the pregnancy would have been tantamount to wrecking her life. This ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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