British MPs May Vote on Cutting Abortion Limits, Pro-Life Group Worried

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 25, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British MPs May Vote on Cutting Abortion Limits, Pro-Life Group Worried

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 25,

London, England ( — Despite comments a government official who said that she sees no reason to cut the time limit on abortions from 24 weeks, pro-life members of Parliament say they may be able to force a vote. However, one leading pro-life group worries that cutting limits on late-term abortions may pave the way for more abortions in total.

Dawn Primarolo, the Public Health minister, told MPs yesterday that the Department of Health did not think there is any sufficient reason to support cutting late-term abortions.

But pro-life MPs told the London Independent newspaper that they believe they can force a vote on reducing the limit for abortions from 24 to as low 13 weeks into pregnancy, which is generally the limit in most European nations.

A motion to amend the upcoming bill on embryology in the House of Commons next month could see a cut to 20 weeks as very realistic, one pro-life member of parliament told the newspaper.

"We think we could win a vote on 20 weeks. We think there is a consensus for that," the unnamed pro-life source said.

The would be the first change in the nation’s 1967 law allowing legalized abortions since 1990, when the upper limit for abortions was cut from 28 weeks into pregnancy to the current 24.

However, one of England’s leading pro-life groups worries about what might happen if the abortion time limit is cut because it could open the door for more abortions

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said laws should instead be changed to provide more support for pregnant women and that fathers should have a say in the abortion decision.

Anthony Ozimic, the political secretary for SPUC worries that a late-term abortion bill would be applied only to abortions for socioeconomic reasons and didn’t affect abortions done on babies because they have a disability — even one as minor as a cleft palate.

Such abortions are allowed up until birth currently, he explained.

"We are relieved that the Government does not seem interested in seeing the Abortion Act amended at this time. Any amendments to the Abortion Act at this time are likely to result in an increase in the numbers of abortions," Ozimic said.

“We call upon parliamentarians to resist calls, from whatever quarter, to table amendments to the Abortion Act and instead to focus upon the many practical ways of reducing the numbers of abortions," he said.

Ozimic has previously indicated that recent medical research and better ultrasounds have helped Britons understand the development of the unborn child and that calls for more limits on abortions are legitimate if bills are fashioned correctly.

"SPUC has used scientific evidence to demonstrate the humanity of the unborn child and has deepened the discussion through the presentation of medico-legal research," he said.

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 –