A cross-party group of MPs has launched a campaign to reduce the upper time limit for abortion from 24 to 20 weeks.
The group, led by Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, says that the reduction could prevent the termination of up to 3,000 pregnancies a year.
The ’20 Reasons for 20 Weeks’ campaign points out that increasing numbers of babies born before 24 weeks gestation are surviving. It also cites recent evidence suggesting that unborn babies can feel pain as early as 18 weeks.
The campaign has the backing of Dr Peter Saunders, General Secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship, and Prof Stuart Campbell, pioneer of the technology that produces striking ultrasound images of unborn babies.
Mrs Dorries said: “With an increasing number of babies surviving at 24 weeks or below, we now have the absurd situation where doctors are battling to save premature babies in one part of the hospital and ending life in another part at exactly the same point of gestation.”
Nearly 200,000 unborn babies were aborted in England and Wales in 2006. 2,810 of those took place between 20 and 24 weeks gestation.