British conservative leaders are gathering this week and the country’s 24-week abortion limit pops up over and over again in the headlines. Recently, Maria Miller, the newly designated Minister for Women argued that limiting abortion after 20 weeks was necessary to protect women who might suffer physically or emotionally if they have an abortion. A few days later, Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of Health decided that even more appropriate would be a 12-week limit, stating that it’s too difficult to decide when exactly to make abortion illegal, so, “everyone looks at the evidence and comes to a view about when that moment is and my own view is that 12 weeks is the right point for it,” according to The Guardian.
As arbitrary as the reasoning behind these politicians’ enthusiasm for curbing abortion rights are, at least their public positions give them a legitimate role in the discussion.
But… the Defense Secretary? That’s a little weird.
Still, that is exactly what is happening, as Defense Secretary Philip Hammond says he, too, thinks the limit should be reduced, and that 20 weeks seems about right.
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Via Bloomberg News:
U.K. Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said he favors a reduction in the limit of time a woman can abort a fetus to “22 or 20 weeks” from the current 24 weeks.
“I think that when parliament originally enacted the 24 week limit that meant something in relation to medical technology at the time,” Hammond said. “Technology has moved on and babies are able to survive at shorter periods of gestation now than they were seven or eight years ago and therefore it is appropriate to look again to make sure we are in keeping with the spirit of what Parliament intended when it said 24 weeks” in legislation passed in the 1960s.
Despite all of this discussion of whether the time for obtaining an abortion should be reduced by four weeks or 12 weeks, Prime Minister David Cameron swears there is no actual proposal to restrict abortion in the works. I bet the women of Great Britain find those words very reassuring.