Hannah Timmis writes for Oxford University’s Cherwell on the effect of recent statements made by the Health secretary:
Jeremy Hunt, the recently appointed Health Minister, has an infamous mouth. In 2010, it yakked about football hooliganism causing the Hillsborough tragedy and later had to apologise to the victims’ families. In 2011, it congratulated James Murdoch on the progress of News Corp’s takeover bid for BSkyB. Now it’s off on another rant and the consequences for the nation’s health could be dire.
“I don’t want a fat tax. I like my Coca Cola and crisps,” Mr Hunt told the Times last weekend. As for the abortion limit, he deems twelve weeks to be “the right point for it.” These remarks – the first a flippant quip, the second a personal moral conviction – are not only medically uninformed. They reveal a Health Minister dangerously removed from the population for whose healthcare he is responsible.
Let’s begin with Mr Hunt’s desire to see the abortion limit reduced from 24 weeks. Doc- tors are unanimous about the negative impact this reduction would have on women’s health. Only nine per cent of abortions take place after twelve weeks. These tend to be the most vulner- able or complex cases: young girls who either didn’t realize they were pregnant or were previously too afraid too act, as well as those with scans revealing severe foetal abnormalities. A 12-week limit would greatly reduce the ability of tests to pick up on conditions like Down’s syndrome. The spokeswoman for the Royal Col- lege of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, summarizes the government’s contradiction well: “Politicians talk about putting patients at the centre… How is the woman at the centre of her healthcare with something like this?”…
Full article here.