Friday, November 09, 2007

Cross-party push to lower abortion age

It appears that a government bill just introduced into the Commons is going to be amended in an effort to reduce the abortion limit from 24 weeks to 20. So, this issue will again be a matter for public an parliamentary debate. The arguments on abortion are complex; on the one hand a termination may be needed for medical reasons, which has now come to include the mindset of the mothers. On the other hand medical science has now moved to the point that an embryo at 24 weeks is more like a baby at 24 weeks, with theoretical survival rates now around 40%. So, at that limit babies are dying who might otherwise have lived. There are extremes of opinion on either side; people who believe that abortion should not be allowed at all or people who think that it should be allowed on demand at any time before the child emerges at nine months. The former clearly have a point when it comes to regarding human life as being special, anyone who thinks differently should research societies can become when human life comes to be regarded as disposable. However, they do not have a point at least in the case of medical harm to the mother. The latter argument would at the extreme turn doctors into murderers.

Abortion should be allowed, but as medical science advances it is going to be progressively more difficult to maintain the current limits, and that situation is going to become steadily worse in the future. At this time a reduction from 24 to 20 weeks is reasonable, but it won't be the last word.

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