Great Britain: the Health Secretary wishes to reduce the legal time limit for abortion

Publié le : 12 October 2012

In an interviewed granted to The Times dated Saturday 6 October, "British Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt stated [that he] backs a reduction in the time limit for women to have abortions, from 24 to 12 weeks, arousing indignation from defenders of women’s rights and a clarification from the Prime Minister." At the same time he stated that "it is just my view about that incredibly difficult question."

During a visit to a hospital in Oxford, Prime Minister David Cameron reacted by pointing out that he disagreed "with the Health Secretary but he respected his opinion and Conservative MPs could ‘vote according to their conscience’ on this question if the Commons proceeded to a vote." Mr Cameron added: "But people need to know the government has got no plans to bring forward any legislation in this area. I personally favoured a modest reduction from the current limit of 24 weeks, because I think there are some medical arguments for that. But I don’t agree with the 12-week limit and that’s not the government’s policy."

"Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who is her party’s spokesperson for women’s rights, said that the statements of Jeremy Hunt were ‘very worrying and show that the Health Secretary has no serious consideration for the health of women’." According to the latest statistics published in May 2012, "in 2010, 189,574 abortions were carried out in England and Wales, an increase of 0.3% compared to 2009 and of 8% compared to 2000 (175,542)." Lastly, the Times points out that "91% of abortions took place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy".

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