Britain Prime Minister Tony Blair Won’t Limit Abortion Despite Pro-Life Poll

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 30, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Britain Prime Minister Tony Blair Won’t Limit Abortion Despite Pro-Life Poll Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 30, 2006

Washington, DC ( — A new poll shows women in the UK favor more limits on abortions, but British prime Minister Tony Blair says he won’t support any changes in the nation’s abortion laws.

A poll conducted by MORI and reported on in the London Observer newspaper found 47 percent of British women agree that the limit for legal abortions should be cut from 24 weeks into pregnancy. Another 10 percent of British women want abortions illegal altogether.

Only 31 percent of women and 35 percent of men said the current abortion law is "about right."

The poll results come days after a British court turned back efforts by a mother of teenage daughters to change British law to allow parents to know when their minor teen is considering an abortion.

Current national guidelines allow secret abortions to be performed as long as the teen does not want her parents to know about the abortion.

Last year, British Conservative members of Parliament called on Blair to change the laws to not allow abortions to go so far into pregnancy. Their requests came after new information was learned about the point of viability and ultrasound imaging showing unborn children "walking" and doing other activities in the womb.

Health Minister Patricia Hewitt agrees with Blair about leaving the law as it is, though she claims to favor fewer late-term abortions.

After hearing about the poll results, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, the leader of the Catholic church in England, called on Blair and members of Parliament to heed the poll’s results and change the law.

"There has been a moral awakening over the last few years about abortion; the British public have been undergoing a reality check," his spokesman, Dr. Austen Ivereigh, told the Observer.

"The Cardinal sees in this moral awakening a growing unease with, and erosion of, the idea of abortion as simply a woman’s right," he added.

About 200,000 women have abortions annually in Britain and about 1.5 percent of those oocur after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Though Blair may not be interested in changing the abortion law, the Observer reported that even Labor MPs are more interested than before in changing the abortion limits.