Newly appointed Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, has re-stated his support for a reduction in the abortion time limit to 12 weeks, in an interview with The Times [paywall].
Responding to Hunt’s remarks, Darinka Aleksic, Campaign Co-ordinator at Abortion Rights said,
“Right now, groups opposed to abortion are picketing clinics around the country with the aim of deterring women from having abortions, while in Northern Ireland abortion remains virtually illegal and women can face life imprisonment for trying to obtain one. So the fact that one of Jeremy Hunt’s first statements as Health Secretary is to call for further restrictions to abortion access is an absolute disgrace.
If Jeremy Hunt had actually studied the evidence as he claims, he would know that there is no scientific basis for reducing the abortion time limit. The main UK medical bodies all support the current 24 week limit.”
Instead of trying to make political capital out of this issue, the government needs to take action to ensure that women seeking access to abortion can do so in privacy and safety and must remedy the discrimination faced by Northern Irish women as a matter of urgency.”
The current legal time limit for abortion in England, Scotland and Wales is 24 weeks in most circumstances.
In 2008, Jeremy Hunt voted to reduce the abortion time limit to 12 weeks. Maria Miller voted to reduce the limit to 20 weeks and also supported Nadine Dorries’ proposals to introduce new abortion counselling regulations last year.
Last month pro-choice activists delivered hundreds of coat hangers to Jeremy Hunt at the Department of Health to highlight his vote to halve the abortion time limit to 12 weeks.