The Archbishop of Birmingham on Friday wrote to the Health Secretary, John Reid, requesting that his investigation into the activities of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service be "thorough, effective and speedy". The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols said: "I was deeply distressed to read the reports last weekend of the activities of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service playing an active part in helping women to obtain late abortions, after 24, 25, 26 weeks, or even later. "British law gives only a tissue of protection to the child in the womb. That a publicly funded Advisory Service should help rip away even that tissue of protection is abhorrent. "This Gospel of Life requires us to name abortion for what it is: the deliberate taking of the life of an unborn child." Archbishop Nichols said: "The passing of the 1967 Abortion Act has had a corrupting effect on British society as a whole and this has now spread to parts of the medical profession. I fear that there is a real danger that this may spread to the treatment of the disabled and the elderly." Preaching during a special Mass for Health Care Workers held at St Chad's Cathedral Birmingham, on Thursday night, Archbishop Nichols called for an urgent reform of the abortion laws. He said: "Our abortion laws need reform in the light of advancing medical knowledge and achievements but also in the light of the respect due to a human life at every stage of its existence. "The Catholic Church seeks to uphold the primacy of life. We stand for a proper understanding of the best interests of the patient. We argue for an effective recognition of the spiritual and religious needs of the patient and a proper chaplaincy provision." Archbishop Nichols added: "Hospital Trusts should not be seeking to minimise or even reduce their chaplaincy provision."
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