Abortion Debate Ensues After British Poll Backs Further Abortion Limits

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 30, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortion Debate Ensues After British Poll Backs Further Abortion Limits

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 30, 2005

London, England (LifeNews.com) — After a new poll shows most British residents favor further limits on late-term abortions, advocates on both side of the abortion debate are debating whether additional restrictions are necessary. Pro-life groups said advances in medicine compel British lawmakers to review the country’s abortion laws.

ProLife Alliance director Julia Millington says British lawmakers should respect the results found in the poll — which clearly show a desire to limit late-term abortions.

"All but the very staunchest supporters of abortion are joining with us in calling for a change in law," she told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Millington said that her group opposed more than just late-term abortions, but she said a change in the law would save at least some lives.

"Our opponents contend that, each year ‘only’ 1.5 per cent of abortions are performed after 20 weeks," Millington explained. "But what may appear to be a very small percentage actually represents 3,247 unborn babies who would have been saved by a 20 week limit in 2004 alone."

On the other hand, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, an abortion counseling business, opposes changing the limit on legal abortions from 24 weeks into pregnancy to 20 weeks. The group says it would not reduce the demand for late-term abortions.

Chief executive Ann Furedi claims her group backs reducing abortions later in pregnancy but opposes changing the laws to do it. She says some women will always need to have an abortion late in pregnancy.

"If the time limit is lowered some women will be forced to become unwilling mothers," she said. "Others will travel abroad for legal abortions in other countries."

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.