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Article posted Jan 29 2006, 2:08 PM Category: Resistance Source: London Observer Print

Women demand tougher laws to curb abortions: Ultrasound images 'of a 23-week-old foetus smiling and grimacing, have made people change their views'

· Poll reveals growing concern over late terminations
· Blair under pressure to agree review as MPs urge change

A majority of women in Britain want the abortion laws to be tightened to make it harder, or impossible, for them to terminate a pregnancy.

Evidence of a widespread public demand for the government to further restrict women's right to have an abortion is revealed in a remarkable Observer opinion poll. The findings have reignited the highly-charged debate on abortion, and increased the pressure on Tony Blair to review the current time limits.

The survey by MORI shows that 47 per cent of women believe the legal limit for an abortion should be cut from its present 24 weeks, and another 10 per cent want the practice outlawed altogether. Among the population overall, reducing the upper limit was the preferred option backed by the largest proportion of respondents, 42 per cent, made up of a 36-47 per cent split among men and women.

Only one person in three agreed that 'the current time limit is about right', with slightly fewer women (31 per cent) than men (35 per cent) saying that. Just 2 per cent of women and 5 per cent of men think the last possible date after which a woman can end a pregnancy should be increased from 24 weeks.

The leader of the 4.1 million Catholics in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, called on politicians last night to heed the evidence of a growing demand for a rethink on abortion policy, to include The Observer's findings. 'There has been a moral awakening over the last few years about abortion; the British public have been undergoing a reality check,' said his spokesman, Dr Austen Ivereigh. 'The Cardinal sees in this moral awakening a growing unease with, and erosion of, the idea of abortion as simply a woman's right.'

Increased awareness of the realities of abortion, and the impact of ultrasound images of a 23-week-old foetus smiling and grimacing, have made people change their views, said Ivereigh. The latter 'very dramatically showed that what had been depersonalised in many people's minds as a foetus was clearly seen to be a baby, a human being in formation, and that has come as a shock to many people', he added.

Abortion became a key issue in last year's general election campaign when Michael Howard, then the Conservative leader, said he wanted to see the maximum time limit cut to 20 weeks.

Former Liberal leader David Steel, the architect of the pioneering 1967 Abortion Act which made abortions legal for the first time in Britain, wants the upper limit reduced to 22 weeks.

The limit was originally set in 1967 at 28 weeks, because that was then taken to be the age at which a foetus would not be 'viable', but it was reduced to 24 weeks in 1990. Around 200,000 women a year undergo an abortion in Britain, although between 85 and 90 per cent occur within 12 weeks and only about 1.5 per cent after 20 weeks. Abortion is still illegal in Northern Ireland.

David Cameron, Howard's successor, backs a new limit of between 20 and 22 weeks. 'He thinks because of the advances in medical science there's now a case for it being lowered, although not dramatically. He would support it being reduced. That is his personal view,' said his spokesman.

Moves to reduce the time limit are now beginning to win the support of liberal-minded MPs who support the right to abortion. Dr Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat MP and a former GP, called for an in-depth parliamentary inquiry to examine the scientific evidence about the survival rates of babies born at under 24 weeks, and then recommend any necessary changes to the law. 'The question has been raised about whether we are going to base the limit on viability - that was the basis under the existing law - and if it's on viability then viability is subject to change based on medical advances,' he said.

'The longer we don't debate this, the less confidence the public will have that Parliament is doing its job which is reviewing and keeping in mind how scientific advances impact on public policy.'

Abortion law has always been altered through private members' bills tabled by backbenchers rather than by government in the past, with MPs voting according to their conscience. However the tacit support of the government is vital to get private members' bills through, making the views of the Prime Minister and Health Secretary crucial.

Amid the debate last year, prompted by the images of unborn babies in the womb, Blair indicated that the government could be prepared to review the limits on abortion law. The then Health Secretary, John Reid, personally supports a lower time limit.

However, Patricia Hewitt, the current Health Secretary, seemed yesterday to rule out any reduction: 'I think it is very difficult for a woman contemplating a late termination and they need to be given very clear advice and support.'

Toni Belfield of the Family Planning Association, which opposes any reduction, said: 'The argument about medical advances misses the point. There needs to be access to late abortion after 20 weeks because a woman may not find out she is pregnant until 18 or 19 weeks, or be in a non-consensual relationship, or be told about a foetal abnormality.'

Julia Millington, of the Pro-Life Alliance of anti-abortion groups, said the findings were 'very encouraging'.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,790 people aged 16 to 64 by online questionnaire between 6 and 10 January.

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Comments 1 - 20 of 22 Add Comment Page of 2 >

Posted: Oct 03 2006, 4:52 PM

8641 abortion is a right and it's important to preserve it, but 24 weeks is way too late..... i've had an abortion myself a few years back, it wasn't the easiest thing to do but i do not regret it. I'm french, and this was done in france. over there, you can not get aborted beyond 10 weeks (12 weeks under special circonstances)(or even later if something abnormal has been observed about the foetus obviously). there we still talking about an embryo, beyond that it's a foetus, a baby..... i am 19 weeks pregnant right now and i am conscient of the progress of my baby, and i could never terminate the pregnancy, under no circonstances. it's time people took responsibility and stopped using the abortion as a way of contraception. do something now, many hopefull and healthy babies are beeing wasted out there as we speak ...... and it's perfectly legal !!!!!!

Posted: Nov 07 2006, 11:12 AM

165138 abortions are wrong!!!!!! if you can look at an ultrasound of a little unborn baby smiling and you can still have the never to kill it then you need to be killed in the same way you killed your child!!!!! i wish that i could put scissors into the back of the heads of the women that kill there baby's and show them how it feels to be killed the way you are killing them.

Posted: Nov 15 2006, 7:53 AM

16869 I think its so stupid for some one to abort

Posted: Feb 09 2007, 10:07 AM

64150 i have a chance that i may be pregnant but i am not sure if i should keep it or not

Posted: Feb 09 2007, 12:29 PM

Anonymous 64.150, I highly recommend you keep it. There are alternatives to abortion which most people do not even know exist. For example, there are millions of people who are looking to adopt a baby (literally 8+million families in the US alone). You get to know and screen the family who wants to adopt your child and you can spend months getting to know them so you know EXACTLY who is getting your child and can choose a loving family who will raise them well. On top of that many families will also pay for all your room and board while you are pregnant and having the child. They will also give you money to adopt the child so you have funds to live comfortably, anywhere from $10,000-$200,000. Paying the mother to adopt is a completely normal thing which happens every day.

Abortions can have some very bad side effects, some people are unable to have a child after their abortions, some people develop uterine cancer, the body doesn't register the baby was aborted and it can really mess with it. Here is a page which covers some of the adverse effects:

I don't want to overload you with too much information, please forgive me if I have. There is massive amounts of information which people are not told about and I just want you to realize there is alternatives which are much more psychologically and physically healthy. If you have any questions or you want to talk please email me (I personally run this site with my brother, you can email me at ( ) ) If you so wish, you can also talk to me in this thread, I will be checking back frequently and I will respond as soon as I can.

Take care,

Posted: Feb 15 2007, 5:27 AM

202151 oh my god. just looking at these pictures of abortions just makes me so mad. i mean no baby in this world deserves to be killed liked this. every child is a gift from god and you should appreciate that. and we all have a destiny to fulfill but these people who have abortions are never going to let their babies fulfill their distinys.

Posted: Feb 28 2007, 12:57 PM

21636 I think abortions are disgusting and wrong.. if you dont wanna get pregnant then dont have sex at all use protection.. if you are pregnant and dont want to keep your child, there are many people in this world who cannot have children and would deffinetly adopt yours.. think about it its gross what they do.. you are killing your child!... a pheotis and an embrio are STILL children. they are human beings they are growing inside of YOu.. it is apart of you you made it.. if you do something so stupid as to lettin go of something and ruinin someone's life.. you will regret it i dont care how late or early your abortion would be.. its wrong and against human nature!!!!!!!

Posted: May 21 2007, 6:31 AM

8232 its all wrong should be band altogether if women dont want babies shut your legs i have 3 children and had my first at 17 it didnt ruin my life it made it i feel so sick at looking at the pictures of babies riped apart its murder murder

Posted: Aug 09 2007, 4:12 PM

19593 My Fiance is 7 weeks Pregnant and i also Can't take care of the Baby and we all just 17 and 18 years.Now should i Abort it for her.Please tell me what to do.
please mail me and give me Advice

Posted: Nov 23 2007, 12:39 PM

6940 Abortion it's the worst thing anyone can do. I lost my baby when I was 12 weeks pregnant, and I hold him in my harms, no one can tell me that at that age they are not a baby yet. I think womans that do this should never be able to have a kids anymore, there are so many choices out there. and if they are woman enough to spred their legs, then they should take this responsability. Or give them for adoption. No one should have the right to chose if they wanna keep their baby or kill it.

Posted: Jan 17 2008, 1:08 AM

2434 I have two children and was going to abort them both but couldnt. i personally dont see how a woman could do it. but for me there is one exception.....rape. yes it is still your baby, but could you really raise that child right if every time you see it you remember what happened? you wouldnt want to subject your child to its own mother possibly hating him. I dont however believe in killing it because you're to young. If you're to young to except the consequences’ then you shouldnt be having sex at all.

Posted: Mar 06 2008, 11:37 PM

12218 I am pro-choice and pro-choice i will stay. I don't agree with abortions being used as another means of birth control, but if you arn't ready, and your heart can't settle with adoption, seeing as how we already have billions of "un-wanted" children in the US and around the world, then don't do it ,you do have a choice. Now as for aborting children over 10/11 weeks I don't really agree with that. I believe you have waited to long. But if you and your doctor decide its best due to birth defects or complications then thats is YOUR CHOICE.

To all this women and men out here wanting to harm or talk crap to women who have chosen to have an abortion. You tell me what you would do if your child would be born with a brain defect and either become a veggie for the rest of its life, or wouldn't live to see 1.

And what about 12+ females who were raped by their fathers or other family members even other men. And ended up pregnant?? should they keep a reminder of that? especially at such a young age. and be looked at the way most women look at little girls when they are walking around with a 8 month old bump????

And don't lie, most of you wonder.. "where was her mother??" "whats a 15 yr old doing pregnant?" etc etc

Think before you judge *christians* only one can judge leave it to him.

Posted: Mar 10 2008, 4:26 AM

71139 I personally think someone who gets an abortion done should be consider a killer. There is no justification to an abortion. Woman out there that don't want to get pregnant should get family planning or just simply shouldnt open their legs!! How can woman out there let some body hurts their child like that... Yes because that lil human being is a child that didnt asked to be brought into this world. And even tho it isnt born it still has a heart beat..

Posted: Mar 10 2008, 9:03 PM

206173 RE:
Patty Posted: Mar 10 2008, 4:26 AM

Patty, Its your body, Its your choice
Don't submit your views on the rest of man/womenkind....
Don't get raped or have incest rape......
Don't have retarded children, Don't have Birth defects.....
All Hail Patty, she has the perfect womb......
Maybe for the next Messiah!


Posted: Mar 20 2008, 3:58 AM

7251 i beleive until you are in that persons shoes you have no right what so ever to say what is wrong and what isnt..... i have had an obortion and yea, it hurty me emotonally for months i cryed but i was so yung, the dad didnt want anything to do with the baby and i wasnt finantualy stable and my mom was sick so she couldnt help me and i had plans to go to college that next year, i didnt even have a vehical so dont tell me obortion is wrong, yes in some cases but in others its for the best i beleive...any advice from me, just go with what your heart tells you and if you do it, it will hurt emotionally but after time you will be ok....

Posted: Apr 21 2008, 10:15 AM

66190 77% of anti- abortion leaders are men... and 100% of them can never get pregnent!!
Dont push your "morals" on someone else who has experienced a situation that you know nothing about other than what the typical white suburban american tells you whats right and wrong
if you have never been in the situation... ITS NONE OF YOUR CONCERN... DROP IT!!!!!
its time for America to SEPARATE their faith from their politics!!

Posted: May 05 2008, 11:55 AM

169157 you should not kill any child find someone who want them

Posted: Jul 16 2008, 9:00 PM

86154 I agree that after 20 weeks an abrtion is wrong but all you cunts that are saying 'yeah abortion is wrong you need to be fucking shot yourself and emily i'd llike to see you fucking try and stab someone yeah you fucking pussy like any of you dumb fucks knows what it's like, some women have different situations you dont know and your wrong to judge them. But i guess your all so perfect and have had oh so perfect lives so you think its right to judge everyone elses opinions and situations, saying all this BOLLOCKS that you should die, keep your legs closed etc etc
your opinion isn't needed!!!! your all pussyholes 'anonymous' get a fucking grip and i hope you live a shitty life!!!
u deserve it!!!
and all you young women that are in this situation dont listen to these low life drips. do what you feel is right. if a baby isnt what you can manage right now then go for an abortion, no-ones going to judge you!! i hope everything works out for you as its not easy :)
take care!!! X
Someone who knows

Posted: Nov 13 2008, 1:34 PM

8492 I have been trying for a baby with my long term partner for 4 years. In that time I suffered 4 miss carraiges al at around 12 weeks which really tore me apart. I stayed strong and knew that one time things would go well and we would get the baby that we have always wanted.

I feel pregant again and this time things were going so well, we had been for scans and seen our little baby and we were so overjoyed. Then at our 20 week scan we found oyt that our lovely little baby had Spina bifida and also fluid on the brain. It was a little boy and his outcome was being wheelchair bound and brain dead and at any point he could die. We would be in and out of hospital throughout whatever life he has. We thought about this and decided to teminate our pregancy and say goodbye to our baby.

It was not an easy choice...we were not a typical situation where we just didnt want the baby...we loved this baby so much and yet we had been dealt the worse hand of fate.

The termination was the worse thing in the world...I felt like shit and was treated that way too..some of you will think I deserve to be treated that way, I just hope your life continues down this perfect path you seem to have implanted in your brain. I can only wish for that perfect life where nothing goes wrong.

And the only way for Spina bifida to be confirmed or diagnosed is at a 20 weeks there is no way of doing an early test for this...I just hope that the perfect posters on this never have to get to that point in there pregnancy.

Posted: May 02 2009, 1:37 PM

86174 It's funny how all the comments demanding a right to have an abortion are from people who are living....are they forgetting that they too began life in the womb and if their mother had made the decision to abort them they wouldn't be here. I urge you if you are considering an abortion and wanting to have kids might not have this luxury as abortions can leave you infertile.
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