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Thursday, 30 June 2005 12:20
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Reduction in abortion limit rejected by doctors
Doctors have rejected a motion to cut the upper limit for abortions from 24 to 20 weeks in a vote at the British Medical Association conference in Manchester.

Following the first BMA conference debate on abortion limits since 1989, 77 per cent of doctors voted against the motion "that this meeting holds that the upper limit for legal abortion should be reduced in light of new evidence of foetal developments and advances in neonatal care".

Medical advances have boosted the survival rates of premature babies but very premature newborns are still often severely disabled.

Only 1 per cent of abortions carried out annually in England and Wales take place after 22 weeks and representatives said that while late abortions were distressing, they were still necessary when severe abnormalities were discovered in the baby.

John McQueen, who put forward the motion, said that babies could now survive as young as 23 weeks and that it was important to establish a clear window between the likelihood of a foetus surviving and the upper abortion limit.

But Dr Jan Wise rejected the proposal as shameful. He said: "There is a lot of anguish in deciding to have such a termination.

"This puts an extra burden on the vulnerable and weak who have decided to take this terrible last step."


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