A tug of war is going on in the United Kingdom over its current 24-week abortion limit.
At one side are parents of very premature babies, researchers, pro-lifers and others who think the abortion limit should, at the very least, be moved back to coincide with modern medical advances. Medical research now puts viability at about 23 weeks.
At the other side are abortion activists, leaders of the Royal College of Midwives and others who argue that women should be allowed to have abortions for any reason up to birth.
Currently, British laws prohibit abortions after 24 weeks except in limited circumstances, such as when there are fetal anomalies or when the mother’s life is at risk.
The British Medical Association appears to be a new partner on the pro-abortion side, British pro-life advocates say. The Daily Mail recently learned that the BMA ethics committee published a discussion paper asking for its members’ views on “decriminalizing abortion.”
The abortion issue is one of six topics the BMA plans to highlight at its summer conference, the news outlet learned. It also published a booklet in December that claimed to show both sides of the argument for and against abortion on demand.
“The BMA does not have a policy on the decriminalisation of abortion,” a spokesman told the Daily Mail. “This paper does not include recommendations about whether, and if so how, abortion should be decriminalised. It aims simply to inform debate.”
But pro-life leaders said they are not so sure about the the medical group’s neutrality.
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According to the report:
Last night, anti-abortion campaigners said they believed there was now a concerted campaign to abolish abortion laws 50 years after 1967’s landmark Abortion Act.
Labour MP Robert Flello, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, said: ‘It is my fear the BMA is embarking on a misguided crusade to scrap the 24-week limit, which would have tragic consequences in terms of late terminations. Women could then terminate unborn children at any stage – right up to birth – without facing criminal sanctions.
‘That would lead to the unacceptable situation where unborn children who could survive outside the womb were being killed.’
The BMA represents about 160,000 doctors.
Last year, the Royal College of Midwives faced criticism from many of its own members after its chief executive, Cathy Warwick, began pushing for legalized abortion for any reason up to birth.
Without consulting members, Warwick published a new policy that supports abortion on demand, according to the UK Metro. She also got the midwives group involved in a campaign to push for the legalization of abortions for any reason up until birth, according to the report. The abortion business British Pregnancy Advisory Service is leading the campaign, and Warwick is the chairwoman of its board.
A spokesman for the pro-life group Life told reporters they are very concerned that medical professionals are pushing for abortion on demand.
“It is really worrying that those who are saving lives, delivering babies are pushing for an ever more liberal position on abortion,” the Life spokesman said. “I really wonder whether the views of the upper echelons of the RCM are shared by rank and file midwives.”
Current research shows that up to 70 percent of babies born at 23 weeks are surviving at a number of English hospitals, according to the Daily Mail.
British MPs plan to vote soon on a bill that would remove all criminal penalties for women and doctors involved in abortions after 24 weeks, according to the Telegraph. The newspaper predicted that the bill will not pass.