Select Page

Petition to reduce the abortion time limit – Sources

The abortion limit was reduced from 28 to 24 weeks in 1990. At the time, that was considered the point of viability. In the 30 years since then, medical technology has greatly improved and babies are increasingly likely to survive at earlier gestations.

Our 24-week limit is also out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation. 

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine establishes 22 weeks gestation to be the point of viability and enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Petition letter

Dear Prime Minister,

In 1990, the abortion limit was reduced from 28 to 24 weeks due to the increased chance of survival for extremely premature babies. In the 30 years since then, medical technology has greatly improved and babies are increasingly likely to survive at earlier gestations. 

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine establishes 22 weeks gestation to be the point of viability and enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of the same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

Polling on this issue shows overwhelming support for reducing the abortion time limit. 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below. 

In most European Union countries, abortion is only legal on demand or on broad social grounds up to 12 weeks gestation, making legislation in the United Kingdom some of the most extreme in Europe.

I urge you to do everything in your power to ensure that our abortion law is urgently updated to  reduce the abortion time limit.

Ask your local representatives to take the Both Lives Pledge