Sunday, November 21, 2004

British Doctor Admits 8th-Month Abortion

British doctor admits arranging abortions in eighth month
By Charlotte Edwardes and Daniel Foggo
(Filed: 21/11/2004)

A senior GP has admitted arranging a termination for a healthy patient who was 31.5-weeks pregnant at the Spanish clinic exposed by The Sunday Telegraph for carrying out illegal late-term abortions.
Dr Saroj Adlakha said that she had taken her patient, an 18-year-old university student, to the Ginemedex clinic in Barcelona on the recommendation of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the NHS-funded charity which is Britain's biggest abortion provider. She said that she was also prepared to help arrange a similar abortion for an undercover journalists who claimed to have a daughter with a 29-week healthy pregnancy, saying she would perform an examination and give back-up care.
In covertly recorded video footage, she is shown lying to a hospital over the telephone, saying that she is with a patient "in severe pain", in order to obtain an NHS scan which could then be sent to the clinic in Spain.
The revelation comes after an undercover investigation by The Sunday Telegraph last month proved that BPAS, which receives about £12 million of NHS money each year, recommends that British women with healthy pregnancies beyond the 24-week cutoff have terminations at the Ginemedex clinic despite such practice also being illegal in Spain.
Staff at the clinic have confessed that they fabricate patients' paperwork to make the abortions appear legal and said they would carry out terminations of healthy pregnancies up to 30 weeks. They said that up to eight out of 10 of their patients were British, with most referred by BPAS. Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, has since been ordered to investigate the scandal by John Reid, the Health Secretary.
Dr Adlakha's confession, made repeatedly on audio and video tape recorded by undercover reporters, shows that abortions even later than previously suspected are being carried out on British women at Ginemedex. Babies born at 32 weeks have a 98 per cent chance of survival.
The GP, who has a practice in Birmingham and has worked at an abortion clinic in the past as well as functioning as a medical officer for the Family Planning Association, said that she had contacted the Ginemedex clinic after being given its details by BPAS.
She accompanied her patient and members of the patient's family to Barcelona for a two-day trip last November for the abortion.
Dr Adlakha said: "If you call BPAS and you ask they will give you the number. BPAS is everywhere in the country. If you look in the telephone directory it will be there. It was them that recommended it."
When asked why BPAS was the only abortion provider to direct women with healthy late-term pregnancies to the Spanish clinic, Dr Adlakha said: "The reason isI don't want to put you off, but it's because you are killing a baby. Rather than killing the baby after, you are killing it inside."
She confirmed that her patient had been entirely healthy and had experienced no problems with the foetus. She said that even she had been surprised at how late Ginemedex were prepared to carry out abortions: "We told them [the clinic] a lie that she was 29 weeks when she was 31-plus weeks."
Dr Adlakha also made it clear that she realised Ginemedex was performing illegal abortions, saying: "They write down, and they tell you [that they will do this], that she is 22 weeks pregnant and there is a physical abnormality." When confronted yesterday by a reporter, Dr Adlakha at first tried to deny having procured an illegal abortion but when told of the evidence against her she insisted that she had "not profited financially or professionally" from giving advice to the reporters.
Last night Mr Reid said: "I have asked The Sunday Telegraph to forward their evidence to my department as a matter of urgency. I will ask Sir Liam Donaldson to extend his investigation to cover the new revelations."