The Claws of Ms Axon

I’m obviously delighted and very relieved that Sue Axon today lost her case to force doctors to break confidentiality if a teenager wants to have an abortion or even just seek contraception advice.

Of course it’s much preferable if the parents can be informed in the case of an abortion. The current guidelines make it very clear that doctors should try and persuade them to do so or at least confide in another close family member, because it is in their best interest to do so. But to force doctors to do so – and take it out of their professional decision – would have been a disaster. People like Ms Axon who seem to believe that parents have a divine right over their children don’t live in the real world.

Not only would it be wrong – but it would also discourage girls from going to their doctor in the first place, because they wouldn’t be able to trust them. The result is children placed at greater risk, particularly of backstreet abortionists, who are thankfully not as common as they were before the initial legalisation of abortion.

In the case of simple contraception advise… there shouldn’t even be the expectation that the parents would be told!

(The title of this, btw, is a Doctor Who reference. Sorry.)

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3 Comments on :
The Claws of Ms Axon

  1. Drop-out says:

    Hmm, why make a big fuss about confidentiality. Got something to hide eh

  2. Maria says:

    Very charming, Dominic but you fail to consider whether secret abortions for children are in their best interests – birth control secrecy since Gillick has led to a rise in underage conceptions, abortions and STIs.

    Even more significantly, you haven’t considered the interests of parents – I remind you that abortions, like all medical procedures, carry risks. Its worth taking a look at the mortality rates from the abortion pill .

    The bizarre Axon ruling raises the possibility of a parent being informed that their daughter has died as a result of a legal abortion without being able to say goodbye to her.

    That is nothing to welcome.

  3. Red Dalek says:

    I think you’d have a hard time demonstrating a link between this policy and a rise in underage conception, abortions and STIs. I’d argue instead that allowing parents to withdraw their children from the often already patchy sex education lessons in schools is much more likely to be at fault. Essentially the problem is *still* that too few teenagers have protected versus unprotected sex.

    You are right to say that abortions carry risks, and that they are not (especially ‘secret’ abortions) happy affairs. But this is about ensuring the flexibility of the system so that doctors can exercise professional judgement in the best interest of the child rather than following top-down dogma.

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