MP continues fight to reduce abortions

PUBLISHED: 10:50 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:17 06 May 2010

Nadine Dorries – her Private Members’ Bill was defeated

Nadine Dorries – her Private Members' Bill was defeated

AN MP has locked horns with an organisation that promotes a woman s right to choose over abortion. Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire, will continue her campaign to reduce the number of abortions in Britain, despite opposition from pro-choice organis

AN MP has locked horns with an organisation that promotes a woman's right to choose over abortion.

Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire, will continue her campaign to reduce the number of abortions in Britain, despite opposition from pro-choice organisation Abortion Rights.

Mrs Dorries said: "On the eve of the ballot for Private Members' Bills, abortion rights campaigners held a national lobby of Parliament, followed by a meeting in the House of Commons.

"I feel that this is an attempt to suppress democracy as the only way the abortion law can be reformed is via a Private Members' Bill."

Mrs Dorries presented a Bill in the House of Commons last month which proposed to reduce the legal age at which a foetus can be aborted from 24 weeks to 21 weeks, as well as to introduce a 10-day cooling off period after a woman makes contact with a medical practitioner about a termination.

Mrs Dorries claimed medical advancement in neonatal care means life is often supported outside of the womb as early as 20 weeks.

The final vote was 108 votes for the Bill and 187 against.

Anne Quesney, director of Abortion Rights, said: "The cynical repetition of baseless claims of dramatic advances in foetal development has to stop. Misleading claims of medical advances repeatedly attributed to moving 4D images of foetuses have been widely rejected by experts.

"It is time the abortion debate instead focused on why it is still not a woman's right to make her own abortion decision."

A 27-year-old woman who has had an abortion, but did not want to be named, said: "I think putting it down to 21 weeks is fine.

"It's still plenty of time for people to make up their mind.

"I think people who want an abortion know quite early on and, if it takes them longer to decide, they are not sure."

She added: "Once people have made up their mind to have an abortion I think it's unfair to make them wait another 10 days.

"It can be emotionally cruel to the parents."

She concluded: "I think, medically, the mother's rights are more important until the baby is born."

Mrs Dorries has also condemned proposals by the British Pregnancy and Advisory Service (BPAS) to relax current abortion laws.

She said: "BPAS wants to make access to abortions easier to obtain but this, in all likelihood, will mean more people will use it as a form of contraception.

"BPAS' proposals demonstrate their cavalier attitude to the lives of both child and mother, and will achieve little of social benefit."

Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS, said: "Abortion is a necessary back-up to birth control for couples who want to plan their families.

"Britain is one of the few countries in Europe and North America that does not allow abortion on the woman's request at any stage.

"The abortion law in Britain is almost 40 years old. It's time it was reviewed.

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