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Monday, 28 October, 2002, 16:13 GMT
Police examine 'cleft palate' abortion
foetus
Joanna Jepson has questioned the late abortion
Police will investigate a Cambridge student's allegations of unlawful killing against a doctor who allegedly aborted a foetus because it had a cleft palate.

The operation was carried out more than six months into a woman's pregnancy, reportedly because she did not want to give birth to baby who had a cleft lip.

Abortion is only legal up to six months except in cases of "serious handicap".

Joanna Jepson, 26, who is training at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, to join the Anglican clergy, made the complaint to the Metropolitan Police.


To take away lives for that reason is completely abhorrent

Joanna Jepson

She raised the matter after she discovered the case listed in official statistics.

The identity of the doctor and mother are not known, but they could be traced by police.

Ms Jepson, who herself has had corrective surgery for a congenital jaw abnormality, said: "To take away lives for that reason is completely abhorrent.

"Having been in that position myself, is society saying I should have died?"

'Major disability'

Alexandra De Laszlo, deputy chief executive of the Cleft Lip and Palate Association, said she did not know the particular case, but added: "I am quite surprised and concerned that a cleft lip was considered a major disability".

She said that the operation to correct a cleft lip was "routine".

A spokeswoman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said it is left to the doctor's discretion over what is considered a "major handicap" in relation to abortion law.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police said it would investigate Ms Jepson's complaint.


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03 Sep 02 | Africa
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