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Can a Doctor Refuse an Abortion?

If you are considering pregnancy termination then you may be worried about how your doctor might react, especially if you want to visit your GP before going to an abortion specialist. In order to obtain an abortion in the UK, you will need the consent of two doctors. In most cases, the first doctor you see will be able to help you and they will arrange a second doctor’s consent or provide a referral to an abortion clinic. However, there are some cases in which a doctor can refuse an abortion.


Medical Reasons

Doctors may refuse an abortion if you do not meet the legal requirements for pregnancy termination in the UK or if there is a medical reason against the procedure. For example, if you are already beyond the legal limit of 24 weeks you will not be able to have an abortion. You might also be refused an abortion if your reasons for wanting one are not covered by the law. For example, abortions cannot be performed on the basis of the baby’s gender. You can only have a termination in the UK if there is a risk to the mental or physical wellbeing of you, the foetus or your family.

Personal Reasons

Although most GP’s will be willing to help when you are considering pregnancy termination, it is legal for a doctor to refuse to participate in an abortion for personal ethical or religious reasons. However, if your doctor is unwilling to provide an abortion they must refer you to another doctor who can help. If you are worried about talking to your GP about abortion, you can also seek help directly from an abortion clinic. You can then be sure that the person you speak to will be well informed, unbiased and supportive.

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