New Clause 1 — Amendment of the law relating to abortion

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 10:00 pm on 20th May 2008.

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Photo of Julie Morgan Julie Morgan Labour, Cardiff North 10:00 pm, 20th May 2008

I disagree with the hon. Gentleman. A number of organisations have said very clearly that viability under 24 weeks is not improving. I am coming on to that point in a few moments. My argument now is that many of the different reasons why women present for late abortions are good and valid ones. Those reasons apply specifically to particular women. The decision to go ahead with an abortion should be made by that woman personally in tandem with her doctor on the basis of those particular issues.

I attended the British Medical Association meeting this morning and talked to gynaecologists and others who are practising in the field. They told me that even a reduction of two weeks would have a significant effect on a very small number of vulnerable women. As has already been said, they need time to talk to those women about the decision they have to make. It is so important not to reduce the opportunity for those vulnerable women to discuss those issues.

There is a clear consensus in the medical community on survival rates. Many Members have mentioned that consensus, but some have failed to acknowledge it as they should. [Interruption.] Certainly, the Royal College of Nursing, the British Medical Association and other organisations have come out with a clear statement that there has been no improvement in viability under 24 weeks.

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