Pro-and anti abortion protesters were out in force at Westminster, ahead of the British parliament’s first look at the controversial issue in nearly 20 years. Following an emotional debate, British politicians have voted to keep the time limit at which a pregnancy can be terminated at 24 weeks, rejecting proposals to reduce it to 22, 20, 16 and 12 weeks.
The chamber heard arguments that lowering the ceiling could force those seeking late abortions to try dangerous alternatives. It also heard claims that survival rates of premature babies have increased thanks to advances in medical science.
The vote came after the House of Commons rejected an amendment forcing doctors to consider a child’s need for a father when offering fertility treatment making it easier for lesbians to access in vitro fertilisation.
The IVF and abortion time limit proposals — forming part of the government’s Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill — still have to be approved by the House of Lords before passing into law.