BY A STAFF REPORTER HE British Medical Association called on Monday for "early talks" with Mr. Richard Crossman, Secretary of State for Social Services, on the workings of the Abortion Act.
A statement said that the association could not agree with the Minister's belief, expressed in the House of Commons on Monday, that there were only minor difficulties which needed remedying.
Mr. Crossman said in the Commons that he had written to ask various private nursing homes licensed to end pregnancies to tell him immediately if there was any truth in rumours that charter flights from abroad were being organised to bring to Britain women and girls wanting abortions.
"OPTIMISTIC" Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas, Conservative M.P. for Chelmsford, asked the Minister if it was a little optimistic to believe that those who were operating rackets would give an accurate answer to the letter. He said Mr. Crossman should appoint an impartial committee of investigation.
Mr. Crossman replied that it was a lot to suggest that, asked about a particular fact, people who run the homes would tell lies. They were required to notify each case in detail, and it would be ex
tremcly serious if they did not do so.
it was not necessary to carry out an investigation and it would be unwise to amend the Abortion Act. He had no reason to believe it was not working well throughout the Health Service.
"There are minor defects which can be remedied. In a very small sector, concentrated in London, over which I have no control, things are taking place which I do not approve, nor does the medical profession. But that does not seem to suggest that the Act needs amending."
Mr. St. John-Stevas is to introduce an amending Bill in the Commons on Tuesday (see page four).
Surgeons back amendments
TWO gynaecological surgeons and two Conservative MPs will be among the speakers at a public meeting at Caxton Hall, Westminster, on Monday, being held to support amendments to the Abortion Act, designed to prevent abuse of the law.
The surgeons are Prof. Ian Donald, professor of midwifery at Glasgow University, and Mr. David Brown. The MPs
arc Mrs. Jill Knight (Edgbaston) and Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas (Chelmsford).