Ann Furedi, the chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said that pregnant women and doctors actively “pretend” that the women’s mental health is at risk so that they can sign off abortions without questions being asked.
And the chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners said a woman simply saying that she did not want to be pregnant now counted as enough evidence to justify an abortion.
Opponents of abortion said the arrangement amounted to widespread “perjury” by doctors in defiance of the law. But pro-choice campaigners said it showed that Britain’s abortion laws were out of date and in urgent need of reform.
The admissions are made in a Panorama documentary in which some women speak about how “easy” it is to get an abortion in mainland Britain and how they wish there should be a requirement to have counselling.
It comes after a Daily Telegraph investigation uncovered how doctors had been signing abortion forms for women they had never met. A series of spot inspections by the Care Quality Commission, the health regulator, as a result of the investigation, led to 14 NHS hospitals being formally censured for conducting potentially illegal abortions.