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by Peter Avis, Special Correspondent.

Abortion in the UK: Same Legal Period

Translated Monday 26 May 2008, by Jonathan Pierrel

Great Britain. Members of Parliament vote against cut in legal period of abortion.

British MPs have rejected any shortening of the legal twenty-four week period after which voluntary terminations of pregnancy are no longer possible. MPs’ decision was taken after a heated seven-hour long debate in the House of Commons.

Hundreds of protestors had gathered outside Parliament the whole day: on the one hand, “Pro-life” activists from the anti-abortion campaign led by Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, [1] head of the Catholic Church in England, and, on the other hand, supporters of the “Right to Choose”, in favour of a shortening of the legal period.

In 2006, out of a total of 193,000 registered abortions, 89% took place before thirteen weeks of pregnancy and only 1.5% after twenty weeks. Carole Dugdale, a woman who chose to abort her child after twenty weeks, having decided with her husband that their couple was not able to look after a severely disabled child, declared to the BBC that women who take such decisions certainly do so seriously: “late stage abortion is always difficult.”

During the discussion over a new bill which concerns all aspects regarding reproduction, MPs have also approved the use of embryos up to their 14th day of development to favour research on genetic diseases (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer‘s diseases in particular.) They also decided that from now on, single women or lesbian couples should no longer suffer from discrimination when resorting to medically assisted reproduction.

Footnote :

[1(born August 24, 1932) is a prelate of the Catholic Church, the Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. He was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in the 2001 Consistory.

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