MPs have called for a change to Britain's abortion laws after a baby was aborted only days before it was due to be born. The termination was carried out at 39 weeks under provisions of the 1967 Abortion Act (amended in 1990 by the Human Fertlisation and Embryology Act) which permits terminations up to birth if there is a risk that the child will be born disabled.15
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. On the 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.”16
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.