New Clause 1 — Amendment of the law relating to abortion

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 8:30 pm on 20th May 2008.

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Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Minister of State (Department of Health) (Public Health) 8:30 pm, 20th May 2008

No, just a minute. I was making the point that nothing has changed over that time period. The difficult choices that Mr. Walker and others have identified existed in 1990 and they exist now. We all know that the circumstances in which women have abortions are not easy; the decision is difficult, there are many complex reasons, but up until this evening the House has chosen to base its judgment on the evidence. We have heard mention of that evidence from the EPICure studies and, most recently, from the Trent regional study, which continues to demonstrate that despite improvements in some neonatal units, there is no improvement in the survival rates of those very young babies.

Reducing the current time limit would have a significant impact on a small number of women who seek late abortions. The Committee must face the fact that some of those women, if forced to give birth to unwanted children, will continue not to wish to do so. Having made that decision, they will travel abroad and seek abortions elsewhere. Would it not be appalling if we drove women back to where they were before the 1967 Act?

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