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Ethics – Up-to-birth abortion Bill

April 2017

Abortion up to birth, for any reason, could be permissible by law if a new Bill going through Parliament is passed. The Bill will remove all legal restrictions on abortion. There would be no grounds on which abortion could not take place and no ‘upper’ gestational time limit.

According to the ‘Not in Our Name’ campaign, which strongly opposes the Bill, there would be nothing, legally speaking, to prohibit late-term abortions and sex-selective abortions, nor anything to stop mail order abortions, or abortion pills being handed out by school nurse clinics.

In a statement, the campaign called the position ‘extreme’ and out-of-line with what the majority of British women want with regard to the UK abortion law. It quoted a recent YouGov poll, which showed 88 per cent of UK women either wanted to keep the current 24-week limit, or restrict it further. Only 2 per cent wanted to see an increase in the abortion time beyond 24 weeks.

In 2016, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) support for the British Pregnancy Advisory Services’ abortion up-to-birth campaign, caused widespread condemnation from midwives. More than 1,000 midwives have now signed the open letter asking for the RCM position to be revoked.

Conservative MP for Lewes, Maria Caulfield, said: ‘We are surprised and deeply concerned that such a radical proposal was brought forward. To remove all legal restrictions on terminations would allow abortion at any stage of pregnancy, for any reason. What would stop the serious potential abuses?

‘It is alarming that, in the midst of such abuse of the current law, it is being seriously proposed to parliament that we join a tiny handful of countries such as China and Vietnam where abortion is legal on demand until birth’.

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