Baroness Nicholson, a former director of the Save the Children Foundation, and a former member of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Human Rights, has secured a first reading of her Abortion (Foetus Protection) Bill.
The bill is trying to bring the abortion time limit in line with the median for most European countries, which is 12 weeks. Currently, under the Abortion Act 1967, the gestational limit in the UK is 24 weeks.
Baroness Nicholson claims that bringing the time limit in line with these countries would help prevent ‘abortion tourism’ from other jurisdictions in the EU.
The latest abortion statistics for England and Wales show that 82.27 per cent of the 180,794 terminations occurred at 9-weeks gestation or earlier.
Campaign group Right To Life pointed out that at 12 weeks an unborn child is fully formed, with a heartbeat, and all its organs, muscles, limbs and bones in place.
The bill has received support from Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton, who said: ‘It is well past time that our laws began to represent the improved understanding we have of unborn human life, and the ever improving technology that allows us to sustain life outside of the womb.
‘This bill will both humanise and modernise our current laws, and remove the harms of allowing abortion at later points. Its passage will allow our law to better reflect where we are as a society medically, and socially’.
Peter D. Williams, executive officer for Right To Life, said, ‘Scientific progress has made it even more clear we are dealing with a unique, irreplaceable human being here. It’s beyond belief that in 2017 we are currently aborting unborn children right up to 24 weeks’.