UK Efforts to Lower Abortion Age Limit will Backfire with More Abortions than Ever
By Hilary White
LONDON, May 13, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Conservative party’s health spokesman has called for abortion-on-demand in Britain in the early stages of pregnancy, confirming fears from pro-life groups that attempts to lower the legal gestational age limit for abortion would backfire.
In yesterday’s Commons debate on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, Conservative shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley told the House that “there continue to be far too many abortions”, and that therefore it is “better for it to be an early, medical abortion than a later, surgical one.”
At Monday’s second reading MPs voted 340 to 78 for the bill. This means it will go back to committee for further study and amendments.
At the same time, some MPs continue to press for an amendment that would lower the legal gestational age for abortion from its current 24 weeks to 22 or 20 weeks. The leader of this movement, Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, has said that she has no essential moral objection to abortion, but has said that lowering the age limit would “slow down” abortion.
Experienced pro-life advocates in Britain have warned repeatedly that any attempt to bring in an amendment to the HFE bill to lower the gestational age limit would result in a situation of near-lawlessness.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) are warning that with nearly all abortions already being committed within the 20 week proposed limit, lowering the legal age limit would accomplish little in saving lives, and could only be achieved by MPs agreeing to remove all existing restrictions on early-term abortions, such as the requirement to have two doctors sign approval.
Lansley confirmed this fear when he told MPs he would seek to make it easier for women to have an abortion at an early stage, while lowering the time limit for late procedures.
The term “medical abortion” was developed by the abortion lobby and media to refer to the use of the abortion drug RU-486. Lansley continued, “I therefore hope that the House will consider whether the requirement for two doctors to consent to an abortion being performed, and the restrictions on nurses providing medical abortions, needs to be maintained”.
In a further indication that this would do nothing to restrict abortions and would succeed only in increasing the availability of abortion, the Labour government indicated it would not oppose the move, meaning it will almost certainly be passed.
Pro-life groups are asking the public to contact their MPs to ask them to defeat the bill in its entirety.
Even unamended, the bill will allow human cloning, the creation of human/animal hybrid clones, the use of living human embryos for experimentation and will abolish the requirement that children created by artificial means have a father.
Meanwhile, public opinion is against most of the provisions of the bill. According to a ComRes poll, 79 per cent think it is important to consider a child’s need for a father in IVF; 60 per cent think it is wrong to create animal-human embryos; and 51 per cent agree that the creation of ‘saviour sibling’ embryos to be used in medical treatment, denies the child a choice in how its body is used.
Amendments from more overtly pro-abortion MPs are also being put forward. Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris said the bill should allow the creation of children from artificial ova and sperm for “reproductive” purposes, not just experimentation. The method involves reprogramming adult cells to develop into either sperm or ova.
This would allow the creation of children from artificially derived gametes from same-sex “partners”. A group of scientists is lobbying the MPs to have the bill amended to allow artificial sperm and eggs to be used in fertility treatment.
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
UK Committee Recommends RU-486 and Scrapping Two Doctor Requirement for Abortion
909 British Babies Born and Survive Under 24-Week Legal Age Limit for Abortion
To find out who your MP is and how to contact him or her:
(SPUC recommends lobbying parliamentarians by post rather than via the internet/by email, because parliamentarians are more likely to read, take seriously and reply to postal letters.)
To contact Nadine Dorries:
House of Commons
Phone: 020 7219 4239
Fax: 020 7219 6428