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Basingstoke MP Maria Miller backs lower abortion limit
THE legal abortion limit should be lowered to 20 weeks, according to Basingstoke MP Maria Miller.
Mrs Miller said it would be “common-sense” to lower the upper limit for legal abortions from 24 to 20 weeks as care for extremely premature babies has significantly improved.
Mrs Miller’s comments came just days before Cabinet colleague Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he would favour halving the abortion time limit from 24 to 12 weeks.
Later, Prime Minister David Cameron, who has indicated that he is in favour of lowering the legal abortion limit to 20 weeks, said that the Government has no plans to bring forward any change in the law on the 24-week abortion limit.
The various comments have reignited the moral debate surrounding abortion, with questions being asked as to whether it is right to end pregnancies which could result in a healthy child, or to lower the limit and deny women the right to make their own choice later in a pregnancy.
Mrs Miller said: “You have got to look at these matters in a very common-sense way. I looked at it from the really important stance of the impact on women and children.
“What we are trying to do here is not to put obstacles in people’s way but to reflect the way medical science has moved on.”
After her comments in The Daily Telegraph sparked some criticism, Mrs Miller, who is Minister for Women and Equalities, later turned to social networking website Twitter, where she added: “Abortion emotive subject but shouldn’t shy away fr[om] talking about these issues. Not calling for Parly [sic] action but restating widely known view.”
At the weekend, Mrs Miller declined to comment further to The Gazette.
The MP’s initial comments came after figures revealed that England and Wales has the highest abortion rate among women under 20 in Europe.
In 2008, Mrs Miller voted in the House of Commons to lower the limit to 20 weeks.
The proposal was defeated, but Mrs Miller said last week that she would vote the same way if the issue comes back before Parliament.