A British proposal to limit further the circumstances in which abortion can be performed has won acclaim from some in the British pro-life movement. However, pro-life leaders also lamented the British medical establishment’s support for loose abortion regulations as the new embryo research and fertilization bill nears a vote.
Tory leader David Cameron has said he will support reducing the time period for legal abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks into a pregnancy.
Anthony Ozimic of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) told CNA in an email that this reduction only applies in very limited circumstances. "In fact, abortion is allowed up to birth in the UK. Only two of the Abortion Act's seven grounds are restricted to 24 weeks, all other grounds are without time limit i.e. up to birth."
Cameron’s announcement comes as the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill heads to the House of Commons for a vote. The bill would loosen restrictions on research destructive of human embryos and in-vitro fertilization treatments.
Pro-life organizations will propose amendments to the bill aimed at reducing the abortion limit.
Julia Millington, a spokeswoman for the Pro-Life Alliance, said further limits would be supported. “In Great Britain, in one hospital a child is aborted, while in another hospital a premature child is saved. It is ridiculous. There’s strong public consensus about reducing the legal limit for termination,” she said.
“We want more than a reduction of the legal limit, we want abortion to be completely abolished,” said Greg Clovis, director of Human Life International UK.
“Unfortunately,” he continued, “a pro-abortion culture is pervading the medical profession. Every time they try to make the abortion law less liberal, we get the opposite result. In the next Parliamentary debate, they will try to make abortion easier by abolishing the need of two medical signatures, as needed today to terminate a pregnancy, and make it possible for a nurse or another health worker to give the go-ahead to the termination.”
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has voiced his concerns about Labour Party Ministers of Parliament being forced to support the bill against their consciences. He has asked all Catholics to write their representatives, asking them to vote against further deregulation of abortion, embryonic research, and fertility treatments.