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Govt consultation aims to increase easy access to abortion

7 May 2008

A government consultation will measure demand for legal abortion performed away from clinics and hospitals in England. Ms Dawn Primarolo MP, health minister, said: "Our priority is to reduce the time women have to wait for an abortion at what is already a very difficult time for them." Pilot studies have already been carried out involving the provision of abortion-inducing drugs by medical facilities that were apparently not licensed to do so. Marie Stopes International, the abortion provider, welcomed the developments. [PA on Channel 4, 7 May] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, said: "Easier access to abortion trivialises the killing of unborn children and the damage caused to mothers and society by abortion. The recent draft position statement from the Royal College of Psychiatrists confirms that women may be at risk of developing mental problems as a result of having an abortion. This reflects the findings of the 2006 Fergusson study which suggested that abortion in young women may be associated with increased risks of mental health problems."

A Conservative MP, Mrs Nadine Dorries, has launched a campaign which she claims is aimed at lowering the 24-week threshold which applies to most social abortions in Britain. Mrs Dorries who states that she supports women's right to choose to have abortions, said: "Britain has 200,000 abortions a year, or 550 a day. That is just too many. We must slow down on abortion. I respect a woman's right to choose. But we are close to being the abortion capital of the world and it is now time to adopt a more moderate, common sense approach to abortion." [Daily Mail, 6 May] Ms Amanda Platell, the conservative commentator, is supporting Mrs Dorries' campaign, saying: "This is not a straight choice between the pro-lifers and the pro-abortionists." [Daily Mail, 6 May] Today's Daily Mail features four surviving children who were born before 25 weeks. [7 May] John Smeaton, SPUC national director, has called on pro-lifers not to support Mrs Dorries' campaign. [SPUC director's blog, 1 May]

The Anglican chaplain to the London stock exchange has described the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill as "a moral outrage". Rev Peter Mullen writes in the Northern Echo: "Christian teaching since the first century has declared: 'You shall not kill the embryo.'" Making a distinction between humanity and a commonly-held notion of personhood, Rev Mullen says: "There is no excuse for embryo research by saying that the embryo is not a person." [Northern Echo, 6 May]

Senator John McCain would reportedly appoint conservative judges if elected US president. He expressed approval for President Bush's appointment of Mr John Roberts and Mr Samuel Alito to the supreme court, and said that these appointees would be his model when choosing further nominees. [Financial Times, 6 May] The appointment of supreme court judges could be one of the most critical presidential actions vis a vis abortion. However, Mr Roberts has reportedly expressed support for Roe v. Wade and Mr Alito is reported as having an open mind on the ruling.

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