by Caroline Wheeler, Express
SHOCKED MPs have called for a change to Britain’s “medieval and cruel” abortion laws after a termination was carried out on a baby only days before it was due to be born
It was aborted 39 weeks into pregnancy under guidelines that allow termination where there is a “significant risk” the child will be disabled.
Department of Health figures show that last year a further three abortions were carried out on mothers who were 38 weeks pregnant and two more on women 37 weeks into pregnancy.
Conservative MP Fiona Bruce, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-life Group, said: “I do not understand how we can have a law which allows the life of a baby with a disability to be ended at full term. It is a graphic illustration of society’s inconsistency on disability.
“After birth we work hard to ensure equality, but before birth we have laws to prevent the disabled taking their first breath. This medieval, cruel, discriminatory law must change.”
Labour MP Rob Flello added: “We have a Jekyll and Hyde approach to disability. One one hand the entire country can be united in praise of paralympians. On the other we can permit the abortion of children at nine months simply for the crime of having a disability.
“This law desperately needs some sanity.”
NHS guidelines consider a baby is full-term at 37 weeks, though most women go into labour between 38 and 42 weeks into their pregnancy.
Abortion beyond 24 weeks can only legally be carried out if there is a grave risk to the life of the mother or there is severe foetal abnormality.
Such a procedure routinely involves giving the baby an injection, usually of potassium, into its heart so it dies before the process starts.
Last year there were 190 abortions beyond the 24-week limit, almost 20 per cent up on the previous year.
Most were carried out under a legal definition known as Ground E, where there is “substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped”.
Last year a parliamentary commission called for change in the law after hearing rules even allowed abortions at 40 weeks on grounds of disability.
It learned that abortions can be carried out on babies with a cleft lip or club foot, conditions that can be rectified after birth. One doctor reported that on some occasions a wrong diagnosis had been given and the dead foetus was found to have no disability.
So far there has been no official Government response to the report.
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