.- Forty-seven British MPs have signed Early Day Motions, welcoming new scientific images showing young foetuses "walking in the womb" at 12 weeks. About 50 more have placed their views on record and are demanding a review of Britain’s abortion law before the next election.
The majority of Conservative MPs and Liberal Democrats are believed to favor a review, while the Labour Party is split.
About 180,000 abortions take place in Britain each year, making it one of the most common operations performed on the National Heath Service.
Under current law, women can have abortions up to the 24th week of pregnancy. In 2002, there were 1,353 babies of 22 weeks or more gestation aborted. But medical technology has advanced to the point where it is possible for an emergency caesarean section to save a baby at 24 weeks' gestation with a good chance of surviving normally.
Advocates for change say that while a foetus is saved in one operating room, another foetus at the same stage of development, can be aborted in the next room.
A backbencher is expected to bring forward a Bill to reduce the 24-week limit in the new session of Parliament in November.
Last month, Tony Blair signalled his support for a Commons vote when he told MPs that "if scientific evidence has shifted, it is obviously sensible for us to take that into account." He also said MPs would be able to vote according to their consciences.