The Abortion Debate

May 21st, 2008 § 0 comments

Jenny Percival, The Guardian:

After an impassioned and heated debate, MPs are voting on Edward Leigh’s amendment for a reduction in the abortion time limit to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

As with the other votes, it is a free vote – MPs can vote according to their conscience.

12 weeks: MPs voted resoundingly against Leigh’s amendment by 393 votes to 71, a majority of 322.

16 weeks: Now MPs are voting on Mark Pritchard’s move to cut the 24-week limit to 16 weeks.
Another defeat for the anti-abortion lobby. MPs voted against Pritchard’s amendment by 387 votes to 84, a majority of 303.

20 weeks: MPs are now voting on whether to reduce the limit to 20 weeks, Nadine Dorries’s amendment.
Again rejected, a third defeat for the anti-abortion lobby – this time by 332 votes to 190, a majority of 142.

Disabilities:MPs are now voting on Nick Palmer’s move to force doctors to provide women seeking late abortions with up-to-date information about any disabilities their child may face.
It seems even Palmer’s amendment was unacceptable to the pro-choice lobby. His amendment was rejected by 309 votes to 173, a majority of 136.

22 weeks: The fifth and final abortion amendment is Richard Ottaway’s attempt to reduce the abortion time limit to 22 weeks. MPs are going through the lobbies now.
That’s it. MPs have rejected Ottaway’s amendment by 304 votes to 233, a majority of 71.

The first major Commons debate on abortion in almost 20 years has ended with the status quo.

The anti-abortion lobby has failed to change the law. The abortion time limit remains at 24 weeks.

So, after seven hours of debate, the only substantial changes to the law are new rights for single women and lesbians seeking to have a child through IVF.[my emphasis]

An excellent result I think.

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