British Favor Placing Further Limits on Late-Term Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 29, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Favor Placing Further Limits on Late-Term Abortions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 29, 2005

London, England ( — Late-term abortions in the U.K. should be limited further than current law allows, according to a new poll of British residents. Some 58 percent of those polled by YouGov said abortions should not be allowed until 24 weeks into pregnancy, by should be capped at 20 weeks.

YouGov surveyed 2,432 adults and just 27 percent favored keeping abortions legal all the way until 24 weeks into pregnancy, when an unborn child born prematurely has a very high likelihood of surviving on her own.

In addition, 28 percent of those polled said abortions should be limited even further. Some 19 percent said British law should stop allowing abortions at 12 weeks into pregnancy and 9 percent said abortions should only be allowed less than 12 weeks into pregnancy.

Some six percent of British residents said abortions should never be legal at any time during pregnancy.

The poll also showed that 48 percent of those polled opposed making abortions free through the taxpayer-funded health insurance offered by the federal government.

The survey, conducted for the London Daily Telegraph newspaper found that women were more likely to support tighter limits on abortion than men with one-third of women supporting limiting abortion to just the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The poll comes at a time when British lawmakers are reviewing possible changes to the 1967 Abortion Act, which allows abortions up to 24 weeks.

Earlier this year the Commons’ Science and Technology Select Committee said the current law should be reconsidered in light of modern scientific developments. It specifically highlighted the ability of doctors to help babies born at 22-24 weeks of pregnancy to survive a premature birth.

According to the latest figures, some 190,000 abortions are performed annually in Britain. Less than two percent of the abortions are performed from 20-24 weeks.

British researcher Patrick Carroll recently presented information revealing abortion is the best predictor of three British breast cancer trends.

Upper class women in Britain are more likely to have an abortion or to put off a first pregnancy, which lowers the breast cancer rate, because of educational or career concerns. Carroll, who directs the Pensions and Population Research Institute in London, says those choices have caused that group of women to have higher breast cancer rates.

Carroll also says variations in breast cancer rates among regions of the U.K. be explained by differences in abortion rates.

Breast cancer rates are greatest in the South East (116 per 100,000) where abortion rates are higher than in other regions. Breast cancer incidence is lowest in Ireland (97 per 100,000) where abortion is prohibited.