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Conservative Party leadership candidate, Jeremy Hunt MP, supports reduction in abortion time limit

Foreign Secretary and Conservative leadership candidate, Jeremy Hunt MP, has said that he supports the reduction of the time limit for having an abortion from 24 to 12 weeks.

In an interview with Sky News’ Sophie Ridge on Sunday 9th June, the Foreign Secretary said: “These are matters of conscience, yes, my view hasn’t changed on that.”

He stressed that he “respect[s] the fact other people have very different views and that’s why these matters are matters for free votes in the House of Commons.”

When asked if he could guarantee that the time limit for abortion will stay where it is, he answered,

“What I can guarantee is this will be a matter for the House of Commons, not a matter for government policy.

The prime minister will have his view just like every one of the 650 MPs and these will be decided as a matter of conscience.

“But it won’t be a government policy to change the law in that respect.”

On previous abortion related votes, MPs have been allowed a free vote. This means that they are not put under pressure by party leaders to vote a certain way. If Mr Hunt were to become Prime Minister, he said:

“It won’t be government policy to have a vote. If backbenchers choose to have a vote, it would be a free vote and everyone will vote with their conscience.”

The abortion law in Britain, which allows abortion up until the 24th week of pregnancy and up to birth if the child is disabled, is out of line with the majority of EU countries which have a time limit for most abortions of 12-weeks or lower.

In addition to wanting to reduce the abortion time limit to 12-weeks, Jeremy Hunt has previously voted in favour of introducing an explicit ban on sex-selective abortion into the law in England and Wales.

Right To Life’s Clare McCarthy said:

“Polling shows there is strong support from women for reducing the time limit for abortion. Seven out of ten women support reducing the abortion time limit to twenty weeks or below, from the current twenty-four-week time limit.

Only 1% of the UK public would support the goal of UK abortion campaigners to introduce abortion up-to-birth.

A twelve-week time limit would bring the UK in line with the majority of EU countries that have a time limit for most abortions of 12 weeks or lower.”

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is 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 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.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.