UK minister backs 12-week abortion limit

2012-10-06 22:33
(File)

(File) (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

London - Britain's new health secretary has said he favours reducing the limit for women to have abortions from 24 weeks of pregnancy to 12, sparking criticism from opposition lawmakers and women's rights activists.

Jeremy Hunt, who took up the job just a few weeks ago, said he believed that 12 weeks was "the right point", telling the Times newspaper in an interview published on Saturday: "It is just my view about that incredibly difficult question about the moment that we should deem life to start."

The comments followed recent remarks from Culture Secretary Maria Miller - also the minister for women - who said she would like to see the law tightened so that the limit comes down to 20 weeks.

The Prime Minister's office at Downing Street stressed that Hunt was expressing purely personal views, and that the government has no plans to change laws on abortion.

But his remarks, coming just ahead of the annual Conservative Party conference, immediately stirred up political debate and anger from pro-choice campaigners. Abortion is a divisive political issue in Britain, though not as much so as in the US, where it has flared up in the presidential campaign despite the candidates' reluctance to dwell on the topic.

Health problems in foetus

The 24-week limit applies to England, Wales and Scotland. Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland except when the mother's life is in danger or there is a serious threat to her health.

Department of Health figures show that the vast majority of abortions last year were carried out at under 13 weeks. Critics of Hunt's position argue that the current 24-week limit should be kept because severe health problems such as Down syndrome are often not revealed in testing until later in the pregnancy.

They say the remarks show that Hunt does not have a full understanding of why women need late abortion services.

"I think women and families across the country will find it staggering that the priority for this government is playing politics with people's lives, like this," said Diane Abbott, the health spokesperson for the opposition Labour Party.

"Late abortion only affects a small number of women, who are often in extremely challenging circumstances."

Prime Minister David Cameron said that he did not agree with Hunt's position, and instead personally favoured a more "modest" reduction in the legal limit. Home Secretary Theresa May expressed similar views on Saturday, telling the BBC in an interview that "there is scope for some reduction".

"My own view is probably a reduction to 20 weeks. That is a personal view of mine," May said.


- SAPA

Read more on:    david cameron  |  uk  |  health
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
37 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Cape Town - 14:01 PM
    Road name: Wet Weather
    RAIN across the greater Cape Town area - drive with care and use headlights
  • Thursday Kuils River - 09:13 AM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

C# DEVELOPER / WCF SPECIALIST

Western Cape
Helderberg Personnel cc
R25 000 - R30 000 Per Month

Investment Analyst

Cape Town CBD
Hi-Tech Recruitment Cpt
R400 - R300 Per Month

HR Manager

Western Cape
Evolution Recruitment
R350 000 - R400 000 Per Year

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2508.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be putting too much effort into someone or something. You are doing it out of love and compassion but there is a chance...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.