British MPs to vote on abortion limits
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
MPs at Westminster will vote this evening on whether or not to reduce the upper 24-week time limit for a legal abortion in Britain.
Last night they voted to allow the creation of hybrid human-animal embryos for medical research.
Around 200,000 legal abortions are carried out on women in Britain each year. At least 5,000 of those women give addresses in Ireland.
AdvertisementThis evening MPs will vote on a series of amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which could reduce the legal limit at which an abortion could take place from 24 weeks to 22, 20 or even 16 weeks.
Much of the debate so far has centred on whether or not advances in medical science since abortion was first legalised in Britain 40 years ago have improved the viability of a foetus outside the womb below 24 weeks.
The issue is particularly controversial and MPs will be allowed to vote according to their consciences rather than along party lines.
The outcome is expected to be close.