When *IS* the right time?

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I’ve just been reading an article on the BBC News web site about the argument for lowering the legal limit at which you can have an abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. The Health Minister Dawn Primarolo argues that there is insufficient scientific evidence for lowering the limit on the basis that extremely premature babies have not increased their survival rates in recent years.

Surely that is not the point. Isn’t the point that at 24 weeks most medical professionals will do all they can to help a premature baby live? And if that’s the case, surely then at 24 weeks the medical profession believe that child to be at a more established human development?

Ms Primarolo also provided statistics which reveal that the vitality of babies born at 21 weeks is 0%, whilst the vitality of babies born at 23 weeks is 11%. Well what about the babies born at 24 weeks? It must be a higher figure? She also says that 89% of abortions take place before 13 weeks. So based on those figures why would you not feel compelled to lower the legal limit to 20 weeks, or even 21 weeks?

This seems ridiculous to me. In this day and age, women can know that they have conceived just DAYS after conception. Medical complications in pregnancies are detected earlier and earlier. I for one see no valid justification in keeping the legal limit at 24 weeks. That is almost 6 months into a pregnancy. It’s far too late.

I think somewhere like Western Australia have the right approach to abortion. The legal limit is set at 20 weeks. Abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy may only be performed if the foetus is likely to be born with severe medical problems – which must be confirmed by two independently appointed doctors.

Read the full article here.
Photo supplied by Leo Reynolds under creative commons (some rights reserved).

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