British Parliament May Vote on Bill to Limit Late-Term Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 7, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Parliament May Vote on Bill to Limit Late-Term Abortions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 7
, 2007

London, England ( — It appears that a measure to limit late-term abortions in England could be back on the table after the British parliament voted it down last year. MPs could get a free vote on the issues soon, according to a government memo the British media unveiled on Monday.

The minister’s note from public health minister Caroline Flint to Tony Blair says that pro-life advocates may seek the vote soon to change the abortion law for the first time since abortions were legalized 40 years ago.

Flint says that some MPs “may wish to use the opportunity” to discuss “related topics of interest, notably abortion" when parliament debates other legislation affecting the unborn.

Labour MP Jim Dobbin, chairman of the All-Party Pro-Life Group, told the Daily Express newspaper that he had more support than ever before for his bill, adding “I believe there will be a serious attempt to change the law."

Tory MP Ann Widdecombe vowed: “We will go for it.”

Nadine Dorries, another Tory MP, was behind the first bill which failed on a 187-108 vote. It divided the pro-life community with some supporting the limits and others saying they didn’t go far enough and contained too many exceptions to adequately protect unborn children.

Pro-life lawmakers have been pressing for a second vote on tightening the limits and point out that modern ultrasound technology shows the humanity of the unborn child in the womb, especially at later stages of pregnancy.

Dorries’ new proposal calls for a halt to abortions at 20 weeks and a one-week reflection period between the request for the abortion and when it’s done, shorter than the 10 day period in her previous bill.

An August 2005 London Daily Telegraph newspaper survey found that 58 percent of those polled said abortions should not be allowed until 24 weeks into pregnancy, but 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 1967 Abortion Act allows abortions up to 24 weeks currently.

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.

Related web sites:
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children –