British MPs Reject Several Options for Reducing Late-Term Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 20, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British MPs Reject Several Options for Reducing Late-Term Abortions

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 20
, 2008

London, England ( — British lawmakers on Tuesday refused several different options for reducing the number of late-term abortions there. The current law sets late-term abortions at 24 weeks into pregnancy but MPs rejected bids to lower the limits to either 24 or 20 weeks.

Several motions failed that would have lowered the abortion limit to as early as 12 weeks into pregnancy, which would have put England on par with most of its European counterparts.

Opposition Conservative lawmaker Edward Leigh says reducing late-term abortions would help lower the number of 200,000 abortions the UK has annually, which makes it the European abortion leader.

"In modern Britain the most dangerous place to be is in your mother’s womb," Leigh said. "It should be a place of sanctity."

Instead, England kept in line with only the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania and Cyprus by allowing abortions for any reason so late into pregnancy and at a point when unborn children are capable of surviving outside the womb.

One of the leading pro-life groups in the UK, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, told it has "grave concerns" at the large number of MPs who voted to keep late-term abortions legal.

"SPUC expresses grave concern at the large numbers of MPs who voted with the pro-abortion lobby tonight in the House of Commons," Anthony Ozimic, the group’s political director, told

The group says pro-life MPs now need to regroup and work to oppose amendments that would expand abortion.

"Pro-lifers must now redouble their efforts to stop pro-abortion amendments being incorporated into the government’s embryo bill at its report stage. These amendments may include removing the requirement for two doctors to certify medical grounds for an abortion, and promoting nurses as abortion practitioners," Ozimic said.

"More babies will die if such amendments are passed," he promised.

SPUC is also concerned that the debate on late-term abortions suffered from misleading media reports that the 24-week time limit on social abortions convinced some in the public that abortions don’t occur after that point.

"Contrary to erroneous media reports, the upper time limit for all abortions is not 24 weeks, as abortion up to birth has been allowed since 1990 where an unborn child has been deemed to be seriously handicapped or in certain other circumstances," Ozimic added.

MPs voted 393-71 against lowering the abortion limit to 12 weeks, 387-84 against 16 weeks, 332-190 to lowering it to 20 weeks, and 304-233 against lowering it to 22 weeks.

An amendment to require information to be offered to mothers prior to the abortion of a disabled child was also defeated by 309 to 173.

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