British Group Launches Campaign to Keep 24-Week Late-term Abortion Limit

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 23, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Group Launches Campaign to Keep 24-Week Late-Term Abortion Limit

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 23
, 2008

London, England ( — A leading British abortion advocacy group has started a new campaign to persuade MPs to keep the current 24-week limit on late-term abortions. Some MPs are supporting a move to amend the human embryo bill to lower the limit and prohibit more late-term abortions.

The Family Planning Association gathered celebrities such as Jo Brand, Janet Ellis, Polly Toynbee and others to promote the campaign.

The effort includes postcards, a petition, and a new web site reaching out to young Britons on social networking web sites like Myspace and Facebook.

The postcards say "Women need 24 weeks for a reason" and, according to a 24 Dash report, have already gone out to 10,000 homes. The group says 1,000 people have already signed a petition urging MPs to allow the late-term abortions.

”For the first time in eighteen years, the issue of abortion is going to be scrutinized through a government bill in parliament," fpa chief executive Julie Bentley told the news web site.

"The most vulnerable women needing a late abortion are the ones who stand to lose if the time limit is cut," she claimed.

Tory MP Nadine Dorries is leading the effort to reduce late-term abortions and she cites studies showing prematurely born babies surviving their births as one of many reasons to stop the abortions.
"Figures released by Professor Wyatt from University College London Hospital recently show very clearly that poorly premature babies born below 24 weeks have an excellent chance of survival if specialist neo-natal help is immediately at hand," she said.

Wyatt published research in February showing that the survival rate for babies born between 22 and 25 weeks of pregnancy has risen from 32 percent to 71 percent during the last two decades.

A March survey found a plurality of Britons favor limits on late-term abortions.

A YouGov poll of 2,311 British adults conducted on March 13 and 14 found just 35 percent want to keep the current law allowing abortions up to 24 weeks.

Another 48 percent want to limit abortions to 20 weeks into pregnancy and another 8 percent of those polled want to ban abortions altogether.

The House of Commons will soon vote on the embryo bill allowing scientists to create human-animal hybrids. During consideration of the bill, a vote is expected on the late-term abortion limits.
Though the amendment would limit late-term abortions on healthy unborn children, abortions on disabled babies would still be allowed as late as 35 weeks into pregnancy.

That has caused some pro-life advocates, including the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children to oppose the abortion limit vote.