New Women’s Minister in favour of lowering abortion limit
Maria Miller, the new Minister for Women, has backed calls to reduce the upper limit of abortion from 24 weeks to 20.
She said that a change in the law was necessary “to reflect the way medical science has moved on.”
Mrs Miller, who made the comments in an interview with the Daily Telegraph , said that it was “common sense” to revisit the legal limit at which pregnancies can be terminated since improvements in medical care had made it possible for babies born before 24 weeks to survive.
“What we are trying to do here is not to put obstacles in people's way but to reflect the way medical science has moved on.”
Mrs Miller voted in favour of an unsuccessful amendment tabled by MP Nadine Dorries to reduce the upper limit to 20 weeks in 2008.
When asked whether she would make the same decision again, she replied: “Absolutely. You have got to look at these matters in a common sense way. I looked at it from the really important stance of the impact on women and children.”
Welcoming the comments, Mrs Dorries said: “Maria Miller is very strong and very brave to speak out in this way.
“Many ministers do not like to talk about the issue for fear of being targeted by pro-abortion campaigners, so I am delighted that she has made her views very clear.”
Mrs Dorries will attempt to secure a reduction through new proposals expected to be presented this Autumn, stating the current law was “unsustainable” given the increasing number of very premature babies that were now surviving.
“The facts have not changed since the 2008 vote – the problem is that Parliament has so many socially liberal MPs that it has become completely out of touch with public opinion,” she said.
Data released by the Department of Health last yearrevealed that 1,189 babies were aborted after 24 weeks between 2002 and 2010 alone, including those with minor conditions such as a cleft lip or palate. In 2001, one baby was aborted for a cleft lip at 28 weeks gestation.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“Mrs Miller has shown tremendous courage in speaking out on the issue of abortion.
“There is a compelling case for the reduction of the upper limit on abortion, particularly in light of the accounts of very premature babies who have survived as a result of the availability of better care and treatment.
“Furthermore, Parliament had never intended for children to be aborted after 24 weeks for treatable conditions such as a cleft lip or palate. The law must be revised to stop further abuse of abortion legislation by medical professionals.”