Published: 29th November 2005
In the light of news that up to 50 babies a year are born alive after ‘failed’ NHS abortions, the Christian Medical Fellowship has called for an urgent review of Britain’s abortion laws which it says are woefully outdated, increasingly out of step with the public conscience and desperately in need of reform.
The 1967 Abortion Act allows for abortion of healthy babies up until 24 weeks, and for seriously disabled babies until term, and has resulted in over 6 million abortions since 1967, with over 200,000 abortions now happening in Britain every year.
Peter Saunders, General Secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship said ‘The current time limits are hugely out of step with advances in neonatal care, and with changing public and parliamentary opinion.
Data from a widely quoted major Minnesota study published last year show a consistent year-on-year improvement in survival of premature babies. For the period 1996-2000 there was a survival rate after neonatal intensive care of 66% at 23 weeks of gestation and 81% at 24 weeks of gestation.
These advances, together with new ultrasound technology showing babies ‘walking in the womb’ as early as 12 weeks, and now further reports of botched abortions - have resulted in an increased awareness that babies in the womb are living human beings and have led to a massive change in public opinion on late term abortions. A recent YouGov poll showed 64% of the public favouring a reduction in the abortion time limits and one in three women favouring a limit of 12 weeks or under.’
Saunders continued ‘Currently babies of similar age that have the same chances of survival do not have equal rights. Inside the womb a disabled baby can be aborted, while an identical baby at the same age outside the womb quite rightly receives full neonatal care. This is not fair or right. It is equally incomprehensible that abortions are carried out up to 24 weeks in the UK for often what amounts to purely social reasons. This latest news of babies surviving after botched abortions has further highlighted in the public mind the grim reality of what such abortions involve, the horrifying scenario that doctors and nurses who have been called to care for babies who have survived abortion know only too well.
These stories are helping the wider public come face to face with what we’re doing as a society and should cause us all to reflect deeply about the choices we have collectively made. More and more people are now beginning to see that these babies are individual human beings with as much of a right to life as anyone else.
‘Abortion practice in this country’ concluded Saunders, ‘is increasingly out of step with the public conscience, and these latest reports will add to the growing public and parliamentary opinion in favour of the reform of outdated abortion laws.’
Philippa Taylor (CMF Head of Public Policy) 020 7234 9664
Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668
Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225
Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 5,000 doctors, 900medical and nursing students and 300 nurses and midwives as members in all branches of medicine, nursing and midwifery. A registered charity, it is linked to over 100 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.
CMF exists to unite Christian healthcare professionals to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.