Wednesday, May 21, 2008

BBC News: MPs Back 24-Week Abortion Limit

Attempts to cut the upper limit for abortions from 24 to 22 weeks have been rejected by MPs after a free vote.

Tory MP Nadine Dorries, a former nurse who proposed a 20-week limit,
said: "There comes a point when it has to be said this baby has a right to life." But her plan was defeated by 332 votes to 190. A move to bring in a 22-week limit was opposed by 304 votes to 233.

Pro-choice campaigners said there was no scientific evidence to
justify a cut in the limit. Government figures showed 193,737 women in England and Wales had an abortion in 2006.

In modern Britain the most dangerous place to be is in your mother's
womb. It should be a place of sanctity. Edward Leigh, Conservative MP

The votes followed two impassioned debates on the controversial Human
Fertilisation and Embryology Bill - the biggest shake-up of fertility law for nearly 20 years. Earlier the government saw off another challenge to the bill when MPs rejected a cross-party move for doctors to consider the need for a "father and a mother" before allowing IVF treatment.

Before the abortion debate, Gordon Brown said he would vote for the
status quo but Conservative leader David Cameron said he favoured lowering the limit to 22 weeks.

'No evidence'

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was also expected to vote against a
reduction. Health Minister Dawn Primarolo insisted there was no evidence requiring the abortion laws to be changed. She said: "The upper gestational limit for termination of pregnancy was set by Parliament in 1990 at 24 weeks because the scientific evidence of the time was that the threshold of viability had increased and babies were increasingly surviving at 24 weeks and above. "That was the case in 1990 and it's certainly the case now."

But, David Jones, a professor of bio-ethics, said research on the
survival rates for extremely premature babies was "disputed". Mrs Dorries said she believed the right of a woman to choose had its limits. She said she reached this decision after seeing the "botched" abortion of a baby boy when she was a gynaecological nurse. "I believe a baby has rights. Those rights kick in if that baby were born it would have a chance of life and if it feels pain as part of the abortion," she said.

'Protect the vulnerable' Ex-minister Edward Leigh, a father-of-six, who pressed for a 12-week limit, said it would bring Britain into line with the rest of Europe.


Under 9 weeks: 54.9%

9-12 weeks: 34.3%

13-19 weeks: 9.2%

20-24 weeks: 1.5%

ONS figures from 2006

"In modern Britain the most dangerous place to be is in your mother's
womb. It should be a place of sanctity," he said. He said "98% of abortions are social - only 1.3% are for foetuses which are handicapped, 0.4% are for risk to mother's life" and added: "It is a bleak picture of modern Britain ...I believe we should give that silent child a voice."

Labour's Claire Curtis-Thomas said she was not opposed to abortion,
believing women had the right to choose. But she added: "I can't accept that we keep the limit where it stands where there is a possibility of life. The majority of people are deeply uncomfortable with that prospect."


Labour's Chris McCafferty said restricting when a woman could have a
termination "is just prolonging the agony" and was "cruel, cynical, ill-informed and inhumane". "It's a basic misconception that women with an unwanted pregnancy should only enter into the actual decision-making process after counselling with someone they do not know," she said.


This is about a woman having the right to choose what
happens to her body Leana, Shropshire Lib Dem

Dr John Pugh said: "There are people in our world today in no
way inferior to us in capacity, intelligence and beauty who were born at 22 weeks. That ought to give us cause for reflection."
Earlier a bid to cut the limit to 12 weeks was opposed by 393 votes to
71. A further attempt to get the limit down to 16 weeks was defeated by 387 votes to 84. On Monday night a cross-party attempt to ban hybrid animal embryos was defeated, and a bid to ban "saviour siblings" was voted down by 342 votes to 163.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/05/20 22:59:11 GMT

GPs and the Silence Around Abortion

From Indymedia Ireland:

Doctors For Choice was set up in 2002 by doctors, mainly GPs, who want to contribute to ending the silence around abortion in Ireland. In a new article, published in the current (May) edition of
Forum magazine (a publication for GPs in Ireland), a member of Doctors For Choice looks at the issue of silence around abortion and general practice in Ireland today. Click here for PDF.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Some Links For Information on the Lisbon Treaty

Taken from the Irish Examiner 15th May 2008:

* (neutral site by the Referendum Commission).

* (neutral site showcasing the views of pro and anti-treaty campaigners).

* (pro-treaty site by Fianna Fáil).

* (links to reasons for a yes vote).

* (pro-treaty).

* (anti-treaty site by Coir).

* (anti-treaty).

* (anti-treaty site linked to Sinn Féin).

* (site contains views on the treaty from various sitting MEPs)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Letter to British MPs Against Reducing Timelimits

Open Letter to Members of Parliament

House of Commons
London SW1A 1AA

16 May 2008

Dear Member of Parliament,

I write on behalf of the members of Voice for Choice and the
undersigned organizations with an urgent request for your support on
an issue of great importance to women, especially young women.

As you may know, some Members of Parliament and the anti-abortion
lobby groups have announced their intentions to put amendments to the
1967 Abortion Act so as to make abortion harder for women to access.
These efforts, to be made via the Human Fertilisation and Embryology
Bill, are particularly aimed at lowering the abortion time limit to
under 24 weeks of pregnancy, for all grounds for abortion.

Only 1.45% of all abortions in this country take place at 20–24 weeks
of pregnancy. Why are these abortions late? Some women experience
delays in referral. Some learn of serious fetal abnormality. For most,
the reasons are: not realising they are pregnant, uncertainty about
what to do, continuing bleeding that they think is their period, fear
of parents' or partner's reaction, denial that they are pregnant,
serious changes in personal circumstances, problems such as domestic
violence, and not knowing where to seek help. These women are
disproportionately likely to be adolescents or other vulnerable women.

Lowering the legal time limit for abortion would certainly punish the
women who could no longer access a safe abortion at 20–24 weeks of
pregnancy, but it would not reduce the need for late abortions, a need
which has been shown to exist across Europe and in almost every
country in the world. In countries where the upper time limit for
abortion is lower than in Britain, women are forced to travel abroad
for abortion care or seek illegal services at great emotional and
financial cost. We call on you to prevent this hardship being imposed
on women here.

The proposed anti-abortion amendment is largely based on claims of
changes to fetal viability. However, even for those who believe that
women's rights to abortion should be linked to the gestational age at
which extremely premature babies can survive, the medical and
scientific evidence from the recently published Epicure II study and
other research is unequivocal. The findings show that survival rates
below 24 weeks of pregnancy have not improved since the Abortion Act
was last amended in 1990.

The UK Government, House of Commons Science and Technology Committee,
and medical, nursing and scientific professional bodies have examined
the evidence, and all agree that there is no compelling evidence to
support lowering the abortion time limit.

Please support women in the UK by voting in support of the current
legal time limit on abortion.