British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Will Oppose Limits on Late-Term Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 15, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Will Oppose Limits on Late-Term Abortions

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 15
, 2008

London, England ( — When members of the British Parliament consider an amendment next week that would place more limits on late-term abortions, Prime Minister Gordon Brown will not support the move. Some lawmakers hope to reduce the allowance from 24 weeks into pregnancy to 20 weeks.

Brown based his decision on some research showing little or no improvement in the survival rates for premature babies, even though abortions as late as 24 weeks are done on babies who are healthy.

"If the medical evidence is telling me there has been no improvement … then I think the original position of the House of Commons on 24 weeks is, on a free vote that I will engage in, the one I want to uphold," Brown said, according to Reuters.

On the other side, Conservative Party leader David Cameron and many members of the shadow cabinet in the Tory party are supporting the effort to limit late-term abortions.

"This is a very difficult issue for any woman that faces a choice as to whether to ask for an abortion or not," Brown added.

"We have got to be very sensitive to the needs of those people while making sure that we do everything to protect life in this country," he claimed.

Brown also based his decision on figures showing most abortions take place earlier in pregnancy.

While Brown relied on one study showing no improvement, Nadine Dorries, the Tory MP leading the fight for late-term abortion limits, dismissed the study and said it doesn’t mean healthy babies should be killed.

"I think this report insults the intelligence of the public and MPs alike. No improvement in neonatal care in 12 years? Really? So where has all the money that has been pumped into neonatal services gone then?"

She called the study "the most desperate piece of trash produced by the pro-choice lobby."

Dorries also told the BBC other studies show higher survival rates for premature babies than this recent one.

"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.

The House of Commons is embroiled in a heated debate about the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill that promotes human cloning and the creation of hybrids with human and animal DNA.

During the debate next week, MPs will vote on a number of amendments, including ones to expand or limit abortions.