Abortion Rights Blog

The national pro-choice campaign

Press Release: Slash the legal abortion limit to 12 weeks, Jeremy Hunt says


PM hopeful Jeremy Hunt said that he would like to see the abortion limit reduced from 24 weeks to 12

Hunt’s comments on his desire to see the abortion time limit lowered to 12 weeks have elicited blow-back from pro-choice groups.

Abortion Rights Kerry Abel chair said: “Abortion care is not an issue to play politics with. Dramatically restricting abortions by slashing the time limit is a poor way to show leadership.”

If the intention is to reduce the abortion rate, then health services should invest in the provision of comprehensive contraceptive services that improve access and provide women with a range of options.

Only 1% of abortions were carried out after 20 weeks of pregnancy in England and Wales in 2011. Among those seeking abortion at this stage are women in difficult and vulnerable situations. They include young women concealing or in denial about their pregnancies; women unaware they were pregnant because they had been using contraception and women whose personal circumstances change dramatically after conceiving due to bereavement, family illness or domestic violence.


Notes to Desk:
Media contact for comment and interviews:  Kerry Abel, National Chair, Abortion Rights (07979 535242) 
  • Abortion Rights is the UK pro-choice campaign, working to defend and extend abortion rights and provide a pro-choice voice to the media.
  • The current legal time limit for abortion in England, Scotland and Wales is 24 weeks in most circumstances.
  • Read Abortion Rights full position statement on later abortions and decriminalisation here 
  •  Currently, medical professionals can elect not to participate in performing abortions, but not from performing peripheral functions such as basic ward care for patients.
  • One in three women will have an abortion by the time she is 45.
  • Abortion is legal in England, Scotland and Wales provided two doctors agree the procedure is in the patient’s best interest.
  • In the UK, consistent three-quarters of people support a woman’s right to choose.
  • We’ve been here before, On the 20th May 2008, MPs voted to defend the 24 week abortion time limit. This vote is a decisive win for women and the pro-choice movement. The key votes were to reduce the time to 22 weeks (defeated 304 votes to 233) and 20 weeks (defeated 332 votes to 190). Despite a sensationalist and misleading campaign by the anti-abortion lobby, women’s voices, the wealth of medical evidence and the majority of the population were been listened to.
  • Please visit our website www.abortionrights.co.uk and follow us on Twitter @Abortion_Rights