BY SIMON CALDWELL
A MOVE 'ID REDUCE the upper timelimit for abortions to 16 weeks is being planned by a senior Conservative MP.
Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin. Shropshire, claims to have growing cross-party support for an
amen en o s as toe .1 1limit for so-called "social" abortions by eight weeks.
He said that the abortions were being performed at "industrial levels" in Britain and he wants to see the numbers drastically reduced. A reducdon to a 16-week limit would save the lives of more than 6,000 unborn babies a year.
Mr Pritchard aims to bring British abortion law — which allows women to abort within 24 weeks with the permission of two doctors — closer into line with the European Union average of 33 weeks.
Mr Pritchard has the support of such Labour MPs as Keith Var. the former Europe Minister and a Catholic, and David Taylor. the left Leicestershire, as well as such Tory stalwarts as Canterbury MP Julian Brazier and Ann Widdecombe.
He is hoping to introduce his amendment later this month when MPs vote on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. "I have got a lot of support," said Mr Pritchard, secretary of the Conservative Defence Committee and the Conservative Foreign Affairs Committee. "There is a growing body of opinion across the House that there are too many abortions in this country.
"The level has risen to about 200,000 a year and there are some people who are having four, five, six, seven or even eight abortions."
He said he was not opposed to abor.
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if the life of the mother was in danger.
He said: "The abortion law was primarily for medical and clinical reasons but it has now moved to a place where we have abortion for social rather than medical reasons.
"Abortion is more commonly used as a form of contraception rather than to save the life of the mother."
Scientific developments in the knowledge of the unborn child after 16 weeks raised difficult moral questions about abortion. he said.
• He added: "Is the taxpayer happy with the current situation where we are ending the lives of unborn children virtually every hour of every day in this country? Does society feel comfortable about terminating the life
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they are feeling pain in the process?
"Does the great British public feel comfortable with the industrial levels of abortion that are taking place in this country and is the Government complicit in encouraging abortion?"
Mr Pritchard's amendment is likely to be the most radical of all the pro-life measures to tighten up the 1967 Abortion Act. Tory MP Nadine Dorries, a former nurse, has announced her intention to fly to cut the upper time-limit from 24 to 20 weeks — a move supported by the Tory leader David Cameron, and one which would save the lives of about 2,500 unborn children a year.
Miss Widdecombe, former Conservative Minister. is considering an Some Labour MPs realising there is a groundswell of opinion against late abortions, are said to be preparing to thwart moves to make meaningful reductions by rallying support behind a cut of just one week to 23 weeks.
Many pro-life activists fear that any tinkering with the Abortion Act could ultimately result in the further liberalisation of the law.