Page 1, 7th May 1982

7th May 1982
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Page 1, 7th May 1982 — Investigations of abortion
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Investigations of abortion

confession continue

by Jonathan Petre

A CONSERVATIVE MP has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate the case of Professor Peter Huntingford, the consultant obstretician arid gynaecologist who recently claimed that he may have illegally killed a handicapped baby.

Mr John Wells, Conservative MP for Maidstone, Kent, wrote to the DPP following a report in a local newspaper that referred to remarks made by Professor Huntingford during a sixth-form conference.

A spokesman for the DPP said this week that the matter had been investigated by the police, and the police report was now under consideration. A decision was expected sometime next week the spokesman said.

Professor Huntingford is also undergoing investigation by his employers, the South East Regional Health Authority, after Life, the anti-abortion group, had made a written complaint. But the matter was not raised at the last Regional Authority meeting, on April 15, and, according to a apokesman there are no plans to discuss the investigation in the near future.

Dr Malcolm Forsythe, the Regional Health Officer said this week that the investigation was proceeding, but he was "awaiting a further letter from Dr Huntingford."

Professor Huntingford, who refused to comment this week, made the original remarks during a symposium on March 12 on the theme "Whose life is it anyway?" An audience of more than 200 people, including girls under 16years-old, heard him admit that he had once disposed of a disfigured newborn baby, and that he had performed abortions for girls under 16 without their parents' consent.

"I caused the death of a grossly handicapped baby in 1959 b) giving it an injection, but it produced a barrier in my mind and I couldn't cross it again," he said.

He said he had performed about 20 abortions to girls under 16 without parental consent. He admitted it may be illegal, but added, "I have no regrets and would do the same thing again if the circumstances justified it. In about half the cases the parents had split up or were not available to give their consent."

The professor was cleared earlier this year of performing illegal abortions after he had been reported to the DPP by the Health Department for allegedly refusing to give medical reasons for carrying out an abortion.

Mrs Nuala Scarisbrick, of Life, said this week that they were adopting a "wait and see" policy, but if Professor Huntingford "got away with it again" they would consider taking further action.




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