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Press release: Jeremy Hunt’s support for reducing abortion time limit

Conservative Party leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt has restated his support for reducing the time limit for abortion to twelve-weeks.

In response to a question on the issue on Sky’s Ridge on Sunday programme this morning, Hunt responded: “These are matters of conscience, yes, my view hasn’t changed on that. I respect the fact other people have very different views and that’s why these matters are matters for free votes in the House of Commons.”

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, 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.

At twelve weeks an unborn child is fully formed, has a heartbeat and all the organs, muscles, limbs and bones are in place. The baby’s fingers will soon begin to open and close, her toes will curl, her eye muscles will clench, and her mouth will make sucking movements.


Country nameTime limit for most abortionsReferences
Austria12Penal Code (1974), sections 96-98: English / German
Belgium12Code Pénal (Penal Code), articles 348-360 (French)
Bulgaria12Decree No. 2 (1990) on the conditions and procedures for the artificial termination of pregnancy (English).
Croatia11Law No. 1252-1978 (1978), Act concerning the medical measures for materialisation of the right to freely decide on the birth of children (English) Note: This law is the same for Slovenia, as both were part of Yugoslavia when it was passed.
CyprusNo upper limit.Criminal Code of Cyprus (sections 167-169 and 169A) as amended by Law No 59 (1974) and Law No 186 (1986) (no retrievable and entirely up-to-date version online)
Czech Republic12Law 66 and Regulation 75 (1986) (English)
Czech Criminal Code, Sections 159-163
Denmark (Mainland)12Act No. 350 (1973), Section VII as amended by Law No. 389 (1995) and LBK No. 95 (2008).
Estonia11‘Termination of Pregnancy and Sterilisation Act’(1998) (Estonian)
Criminal Code of the Republic of Estonia, sections 125-128
Finland20Law 239 (‘Abortion Act’) (1970) as amended Law No 564 (1978), Law No 572 (1985), and Law No 328 (2001) (Finnish)
France12Loi No. 75-17 du 17 janvier 1975 relative à l’interruption volontaire de la grossesse (Law No. 75-17 of January 1975 Regarding Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy)(French)
Code Pénal (Penal Code) Articles 223-10 & 223-11 (French)
Code de la Santé Publique (Public Health Code) Articles L2222-1 to L2222-4, and L2223-1 to L2223-2 (French)
Germany22Strafgesetzbuch (Penal Code), sections 218-219 (English)
Greece12Law No 821 (1978), as amended by Law No 1609 (1986), and the Greek Criminal Code, Article 304 (no online access).
Hungary12Act LXXIX (1992) on ‘the Protection of the Life of the Fetus’ as amended by Act LXXXVII (2000)
Criminal Code (2012), Section 163
Ireland12Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018
Italy12Law 194 (1978) (Italian)
Latvia12Sexual and Reproductive Health Law (2002) (English)
Criminal Law of the Republic of Latvia, section 135-136
Lithuania12Decree of the Lithuanian Minister of Health (which replaced the former Soviet law) (Lithuanian)
Criminal Code of Lithuania, article 142
Luxembourg12Penal Code Articles 348-353, as amended by Law on sexual information, illegal abortion and termination of pregnancies (1978) (French)
MaltaNone: abortion is totally illegal.Criminal Code, Articles 241-243
Netherlands24 de factoCriminal Code, Articles 82a and 296 (Dutch)
Directions on the Non-Prosecution of Cases of Euthanasia and Late Abortions (2007) (Dutch)
Law on termination of pregnancy (1981): EnglishDutch
Poland12Act on Family Planning, Protection of the Human Fetus, and Conditions for Pregnancy Termination (1993), and Penal Code (1997) (English and Polish)
Portugal12Código Penal (Penal Code), Articles 140-142 (Portuguese)
Romania14Noul Cod Penal (Penal Code), Article 201 (2014) (Romanian)
Slovakia12Law 73 (1986), as amended by Law No 419/1991 (English)
See also Act No. 576/2004 Coll. of Laws on Health Care, Health Care-Related Services, and Amending and Supplementing Certain Acts as Amended by Act No. 345/2009.
Criminal Code of Slovakia, Articles 150-153
Further context (U.N.)
Slovenia11Law No. 1252-1978 (1978), Act concerning the medical measures for materialisation of the right to freely decide on the birth of children (English)Note: This law is the same for Croatia, as both were part of Yugoslavia when it was passed.
Spain14Ley 2/2010 Orgánica de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva y de la Interrupción Voluntaria del Embarazo(Organic Law 2/2010 on Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy) (Spanish)
Sweden18Lag om abort (Abortlagen) (1974): (Swedish)