by Steven Ertelt
April 11, 2005
Glasgow, Scotland (LifeNews.com) — Hospitals in Scotland are admitting they have been performing late-term abortions, including one case as late as 34 weeks into pregnancy. The Scotland on Sunday newspaper conducted an investigation and found that one hospital performed an abortion six weeks before the baby’s due date after the mother declined a 17 week abortion.
The newspaper’s investigation reveals that abortions are performed past the 24 week limit and pro-life groups are unhappy that legal guidelines are being violated.
There are some health exceptions to the limit and abortion practitioners are free to determine if the mother’s situation warrants a late-term abortion.
Conservative leader Michael Howard has called for the abortion limit to be reduced to 20 weeks and some members of the British parliament and British church leaders favor the change to limit more abortions.
The Scottish newspaper used Freedom of Information laws to find the information and found that 25 abortions had been performed past the 25 week limit since 1998. Tayside Health Board said Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, had carried out three late abortions over the period, at 34, 30 and 25 weeks, the newspaper reported.
The woman who had the abortion at 34 weeks did so because doctors diagnosed her unborn child with anencephaly and she had initially decided to continue the pregnancy.
Other cases of late-term abortions involved children with severe or mild physical deformities.
"To hear that an abortion has been carried out at 34 weeks is frankly appalling, and most people will react to this with horror," a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland told the newspaper. "This sheds new light in the debate on abortion time limits and makes the point very clearly that we need to review the law, which we feel should be a general election issue."
Ian Murray, of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, says abortions on handicapped children are wrong because many more are surviving with advances in medical care.
"We are hearing more and more stories of babies surviving at 24 weeks," he said. "To think that abortions are being carried out up to six weeks before birth will surprise and horrify people, no matter the disability."