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Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 106898, tabled on 21 October 2020

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 on

4 November 2020

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.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care