And the word from MSI is…

Contrary to assertions on Nadine Dorries’ campaign website Marie Stopes International (MSI) does NOT favour a reduction of the abortion time limit. We hereby reaffirm our continued and unyielding support for 24 weeks and respect for the needs and rights of women to access abortion at later gestation.

“Later abortions are extremely rare – less than two per cent of the total – but sometimes desperately needed by a small number of women facing complex personal circumstances,” said Anne Quesney, Head of Advocacy at MSI. ”We believe that these women should be trusted to make the decision and deserve our support. A reduction of the time limit for abortion would have no impact on the number of abortions – 90 per cent of which are carried out at under 12 weeks – but would create demand for illegal and self-induced abortions and put vulnerable women’s lives at risk.”

Arguments to reduce the 24 week limit are mostly unsubstantiated. They fly in the face of all recent scientific evidence and medical / professional recommendations in the field of sexual reproductive health.

Time limit: the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing all strongly favour upholding the current time limit.
Foetal survival: the recent EPIcure II study showed that viability of a foetus before 24 weeks had not significantly increased in the last 10 years.
Foetal pain: the general medical consensus is that a foetus does not feel pain before at least 26 weeks simply because the neurological development necessary to feel pain has not developed until then.

Abortion is a complex issue which deserves serious consideration. No self respecting politician should wage a parliamentary campaign that will impact so fundamentally on women’s lives simply because they have a ‘feeling it’s wrong’.

Amendments to reduce the upper limit for abortions are expected to be tabled by MPs as part of the Human Tissue and Embryology Bill, which is due for its second reading in the House of Commons on May 12th. Votes will take place later this month.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Tony Kerridge (020 7034 2365), Diana Thomas (020 7034 2317) or Anna Mawer (020 7034 2307) at the Marie Stopes International press office.

(See original)

  • later abortions are extremely rare

  • John:

    I’ve made the point in a previous post that I have every respect for your views.

    I disagree over the upper limit, but I suspect that the differences between us are marginal and relate to differences in the weight we attach to the evidence – you favour viability, I find the ethical dimensions of the viability argument problematic and prefer to take a ‘least harm’ position in which the time at which the main sequence of cortical development begins, which will of course, lead to the capacity for conscious thought, is a significant factor in my assessment of where the line should be drawn.

    Where I know for a fact we are in agreement is in the view that the best way to ensure that there are abortions carried out at 22-23 weeks, but for cases of serious foetal abnormality, is to ensure that there no women who require an abortion at that stage in their pregnancy.

    The hijacking of this issue is extremely regrettable in more than just the sense that it detracts from rational discussion. Having taken the time to review several of Dr KJS Anand’s papers, on which Dorries leans heavily to support a false argument about foetal pain/sentience, it saddens me that the considerable value there is in his work and the contribution he is making to improvements in neonatal care are being almost entirely overshadowed by the specious co-option of his research into this debate.

  • amimissingsomething

    I think you should point out exactly where she made the assertion ie link or quote something. Extensive googling and a fair scrutiny of her campaign website- and other posts here- failed to reveal where she made the claim. Am I missing something? Usually caches remain even where the post or page has been removed or altered. For the record I am not sympathetic either to the tone or substance of attacks on her, but go on, persuade me with evidence that she is the wicked witch of the anti-choice.