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BMA votes against lowering abortion limit

My union has helpfully agreed with my position on the lowering of the 24 week limit on abortions. Whilst I’m sure this will enrage the Daily Mail, it certainly cheered me up because, as far as I can see, there is no logical scientific reason for lowering the abortion limit.

The only scientific reason for doing so is because increasingly premature babies are surviving with medical assistance. But whilst that’s a reasonable scientific point, the logic isn’t present. Increasingly premature babies are going to continue to survive as medical technology improves, until eventually abortions will be impossible – or, more controversially – they will only be available to those who discover their pregnancy suitably early, thus probably disenfranchising those who are not expecting to become pregnant (and may therefore feel that they are in desperate need of an abortion). Very few of the campaigners supporting the idea of lowering the limit would support either of the above situations – and yet that is effectively what they are voting for.

The other popularly posited opinion is that now we have 3D scans, which allow us to see the foetus in greater detail than ever, we shouldn’t allow abortions at this stage of pregnancy. This is a foolish notion. Doctors have for many years seen the real foetus following abortion, and the foetus has always been at the same stage of development, even if it’s previously required a medical degree to interpret the images. Just because something can now be interpreted by the masses doesn’t change the nature of what is actually done.

Therefore, I agree with my BMA colleagues in their decision not to support the lowering of the abortion limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. And I will continue to hold that position, until I hear a reasoned logical and scientific reason to change it.

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

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Comments and responses

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


    19.41, 30/06/2005

I’m not keen on the word ‘lowering’ to describe what’s happening to the limit, as the length of time is being reduced, rather than a level decreasing; but I can’t think of a word that would fit. Any suggestions?


Comment from Dr Henry Murdentaler


    21.34, 01/07/2005

Let’s just call it a license to kill babies.


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


    12.54, 02/07/2005

Nobody is sanctioning the killing of babies, though, so that would be somewhat misleading.




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