British Mother Wants court to Overturn "Secret Abortion" Guidelines

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 8, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Mother Wants court to Overturn "Secret Abortion" Guidelines Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 8, 2005

London, England ( — A British mother is asking England’s highest court to overturn guidelines that allow for secret abortions to be performed on teenagers without the knowledge of the girl’s parents. Sue Axon, 51, has two teenage daughters and is challenging Department of Health rules to allow for parental notification.

The health rules say abortion practitioners must respect the confidentiality of girls under the age of 16 if they want to have an abortion or receive reproductive health care.

"I think the law is crazy and it lets these children down," Axon told the court.

"What about all these girls that have had a secret abortion and they’ve gone on to self-harm, to do drugs and committed suicide? What about those girls," she asked.

Philip Havers, Axon’s attorney, told the judges that parents "are entitled at least to be told about the proposed advice and treatment before it is arrived at." He added that he wasn’t pursuing parental consent, just notification.

"All she asks for is a right to be notified, subject to this proviso: unless notifying her and other parents of such children would risk prejudicing the child’s physical or mental health," Havers told the court, according to Manchester Online.

Axon says her daughters have not pursued their own abortions by Axon had an abortion when she was younger that she regrets having.

Judge Silber said it was an "important case," with implications for parents across the European nation, according to a Manchester newspaper.

The newspaper reports the court will take up the case for three days with the Department of Health presenting its response tomorrow. The court is expected to rule before the end of the year.