Texas passes law to lower abortion limit to 20 weeks

The US state of Texas has passed a law to lower the abortion limit from 26 to 20 weeks, with its Governor saying it has a duty to stand up for unborn babies.

Supporters of the law say technology has moved on to help premature babies live – so survival outside the womb is possible at an earlier stage.

In the UK there have been calls from senior Government figures to lower the abortion limit from 24 weeks, but legislation is not expected.


Governor Rick Perry, who signed the Texan Bill into law, said the state was celebrating “the further cementing of the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built”.

He added: “It is our responsibility and duty to give voice to the unborn individuals.”

Last year in the UK three Cabinet ministers expressed support for lowering the abortion limit.


Maria Miller, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said the abortion limit should be lowered to 20 weeks.

Home Secretary Theresa May later voiced her agreement with Maria Miller.

At the time Mrs Miller said she thinks the law should “reflect the way medical science has moved on.”

She told The Daily Telegraph that she’s “driven by that very practical impact that late term abortion has on women”.

No plans

In October last year Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said he would back a reduction in the legal limit for abortion to 12 weeks.

Mr Hunt said the moment we should deem life to start is an “incredibly difficult question” but his own view is that “12 weeks is the right point for it”.

In response, Prime Minister David Cameron made clear he disagreed with reducing the limit to 12 weeks and said the Government has no plans to change the law on abortion.


Speaking during a visit to the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, Mr Cameron said he personally favoured a “modest reduction” from the current limit of 24 weeks.

He said Mr Hunt’s view was his personal opinion and not Government policy – any vote on the issue would be a matter of conscience.

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