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U.K. Mother Challenges Government's Abortion Stance


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Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) -- A British mother of two teenage daughters is challenging U.K. health guidelines that allow girls under the age of 16 to have abortions without their parents' knowledge.

 

Susan Axon, 51, claims the guidelines, which require medical professionals to uphold the confidentiality of younger patients seeking advice on terminating a pregnancy or other sex-related issues, infringe European human rights law and should be changed.

 

``She merely says that as a matter of law there is a right to know or be notified by the doctor,'' Philip Havers QC, Axon's lawyer, argued today at a hearing at the High Court in London. ``The claimant does not say that doctors cannot provide such advice or carry out such treatment without the parents' consent.''

 

The Department of Health guidelines, issued in July 2004, state that while doctors should try to persuade children to tell a parent or family member about a planned abortion, terminations can take place without parents' knowledge or consent.

 

Medical professionals argue that scrapping the confidentiality rules may drive teenage girls away from sexual health clinics and trigger a rise in late abortions among girls who delay seeking care because of fear over their parents' reaction.

 

``I believe the guidance represents a direct attack on my rights as a parent, as the prime nurturer of my children, by introducing a third party into the family whose advice may result in my daughter receiving contraceptives and an abortion without my knowledge, involvement or support,'' Axon says in a statement filed with the court. ``The government should be encouraging family cohesion, not undermining it.''

 

`Difficult Discussions'

 

Axon, who has five children between the ages of 13 and 28, claims that her own abortion 20 years ago led to feelings of guilt, shame and depression and that she now believes ``an unborn baby is a human being.'' She also says that while she wouldn't stop her daughters from having an abortion, she would try to dissuade them from terminating their pregnancy.

 

``The difficult discussions strengthen our family life and I trust equip my daughters with resolve and wisdom in the choices that they make,'' Axon said.

 

The Department of Health is expected to begin presenting its arguments in support of the guidelines tomorrow. The case is scheduled to last three days, with a ruling later this year.

 

The case is CO/5307/2004, Axon v Department Of Health & Social Security.

 

 

 

To contact the reporter on this story:

Megan Murphy in London at mmurphy41@bloomberg.net

Personally, although I am well known for being liberal about most things, I really hope that they find in the mother's favour. but then I am also in favour of the fathers of unborn babies that are concieved consetually to be told before an Abortion can take place and to be able to block it from happening/ Even if the couple is split the father should be able to ask for custody of the baby when it is born.

I also would have strict guidelines about what would be considered grounds for abortion. I would have it restricted to Rape, Incest, cases where the mothers life was endangered or cases where the baby would die in a short space of time soon after being born. Any other cases I would have Adoption used instead.

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but then I am also in favour of the fathers of unborn babies that are concieved consetually to be told before an Abortion can take place and to be able to block it from happening.

 

Why should the man have ANY say over a womans body?

And as for pro life, pro life = anti choice.

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Unfair it may be, but thats an important lesson about the use of contaception and being in a relationship. If you have sex and its a one night stand then youve taken a risk.

 

I agree that abortion should NOT be used as an emergency conraception, however certain times it should be permitted for sure. Remember that condoms ect are NOT 100% effective and so why should someone who did take all the precautions have to be 'penailised' with an unwanted pregnancy? something that could interupt their live bot personally and work wise.

 

And anyone who says 'Oh a fetus is human too' at what point is that? Legally and biologicly until a certain point its just a lump of growing cells, and if that bothers you then dont use any type of birth control as those sperm could ahve been a baby too.

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Hows it unfair? The mother shouldnt be lumbered with a child if they dont want it. The grounds for abortion are fairly strict as it is. The world is overpopulated, mostly because there aint enough abortion facilities around for people who cant afford to have kids but have to have them anyway.
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Hows it unfair? The mother shouldnt be lumbered with a child if they dont want it. The grounds for abortion are fairly strict as it is. The world is overpopulated' date=' mostly because there aint enough abortion facilities around for people who cant afford to have kids but have to have them anyway.[/quote']

I'm not saying that the mother should be lumbered with it I'm saying that if the Father should be able to adopt the baby as it is half made from his DNA anyway, as the mothers that do keep their kids and the CSA are fond of reminding us, and yes I would expect the mothers to pay Child Support if they gave custody to the kids biological father since the father would be.

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Well I'm going to with how I would feel.

 

Say Paula got pregnant we'd be in a position where we'd have to decide what we want to do. Now brining another into the world is a huge responsibility, one that we could not afford financially or in any other way to give our child the best start in life. So we'd look at the alternatives.

 

In my eyes abortion would be desirable, I wouldn't want my child, my flesh and blood out there to never know it. It also causes a hell of a lot of emotional up heaval years down the line when the kid finds out through various means that they are adopted. Believe me, I've seen friends go through with tracing their blood parents behind their adoptive parents' backs - very messy, very emotionally stressful.

 

If I couldn't bring a child into the world in a manner that I wished then I would see abortion as the only alternative.

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Plus if the father has spilt from the mother do you really think the mother concerned SHOULD in all cases keep the child?

 

Would you want to put in that position? No partner, court battles potentionally over who gets the kids and when etc and the whole question of why didn't work out etc later on when the child is grown up?

 

Could you face that? Should women have to face that?

 

No they shouldn't unless they want to which is why pro choice should remain in this country.

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As far as i know I was not planned but my parents have brought me up well, same as my cousin who recently married the mother of his 3 year old son.

Just because they don't plan on having a baby doesn't mean that they cannot be good parents. Also what about cases where contraception doesn't work?

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Just because they don't plan on having a baby doesn't mean that they cannot be good parents. Also what about cases where contraception doesn't work?

 

I'm not saying unplanned babies result in bad parenting. What I desire is to be financially secure and set before even thinking about kids. Give it 5 years and we'll be ready for kids and able to provide them with a life that they'll enjoy. If say Paula was to fall pregnant now and we didn't abort then that would not be possible.

 

Taj I respect that you have these worldy views but it is up to the individual. Every case is different, simple as and no one should be forced to go through pregnancy and adoption just because that is the belief of another.

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Ive probably wrote this story on here 1 billion and 1 times, but I'm gonna say it again anyway.

 

When I was at the age of 4, my mum and dad decided it would be a nice idea to have a third child, they were stable of money etc. So a few months into pregnancy my dad does this really nice thing of going and getting another woman pregnant, leaving my mum with TWO sick kids on her hands, and an unborn child. He then did an even nicer thing of leaving my mum with no money to support us, running away to america, and leaving my mum with a lot of debts, as a single parent. We were moved into a moldy council house, with no central heating, and she had to have a car to run, as me and nick needed regular trips to the hospital, as well as having another child on the way. So she had to have an abortion.

 

Now this wasn't a case of incest OR rape, does this yet change your views Taj on who abortions should be given to? My mum would never have coped with a third child then, she didn't have the money or anything, she was suffering with very bad depression.

 

I believe maybe there should be a change of custody regulations, but that is off the subject.

 

A woman should have the right, on whether or not to go through 9 months of pregnancy, and whether or not the circumstances and timing are right or not. If they are not 100% comfortable with having a child, then they should be the ones to choose to terminate. It's nothing to do with the father, as it's them carrying the child.

 

Going back to what your article was ACTUALLY about, yes parents/legal guardians should be told if a minor has become sexually active, AND of there desicion to terminate.

With health and safety in mind for the minor.

Edited by Gemsi
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what's that got to do with nine months of pregnancy? and the risks that come with giving birth?

 

Also there are tons of kids out there, without a family, or a real place they can call home. There stuck in grotty orphanages. This all because there parents brought them into the world and either couldn't cope, or just didn't want the children.

Wouldn't it have been better just to terminate in pregnancy, and to give the children who have already been dumped in care a better lease of life?

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