An abortion is when a pregnancy is ended by the deliberate removal of the foetus from the womb so that it does not result in the birth of a child.
The Abortion Act 1967, as amended by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, allows termination of a pregnancy by a registered medical practitioner, subject to certain conditions. This applies to England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Under the Act an abortion must be carried out in a hospital or specially licensed clinic. Before a legally induced abortion can take place, two doctors must agree that:
Abortion is always legal, even after 24 weeks, if:
In cases of medical emergency, a second doctor's agreement does not need to be sought.
The law outlined above does not apply to Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.