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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Contact your MP - say no to restrictions on the time limit for abortions

There is a crucial debate in the House of Commons next Tuesday 20th May, on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Part of this Bill seeks to reduce the time limit on abortions from 24 to 20 weeks. This is based (in part) on the belief that premature babies born as early as 20 weeks are viable (we know that anti-choice campaigners have many other varied reasons why they don't want women to have autonomy with their bodies).

A study published in the British Medical Journal has proved this not to be the case (Link), and undermines the argument of some anti-choice MPs who seek to reduce the time limit and restrict a women's right to make decisions about her body.

The good news is that in a poll of MPs the majority said they did not support this restriction! Please show your MP you support for a woman's right to choose by sending them an email or letter before the crucial vote on the 20th. You can contact them quickly and easily via "write to them" or get their address details from the website for parliament and send them a letter.

Dear [MP’s name here]

I am contacting you to ask you to vote against the proposals to lower to upper time limit for abortions, as proposed in the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill to be debated on May 20th.

There are three reasons why you should vote against this change:
1) A recent, peer reviewed research study published in the British Medical Journal looking at premature births in the Trent Deanery has shown the age of viability for premature babies has not changed since the 1990s, and that 80% of premature babies do not survive. The argument to lower the time limit for late term abortions is based upon the misguided belief that medicals advances over the last 15-20 years has improved this. It has not.

2) Women seeking late term abortions are among the most vulnerable, and often have many and complex reasons for doing so, ranging from pregnancy as a result of rape to unexpected pregnancy as a result of failures in contraception –a small percentage of women will get pregnant while on the pill despite using this contraception exactly as prescribed, and discovering complications with the birth or the foetus.

3) 77% of the population support a women’s right to choose [Abortion Rights 2007], woman’s right to an abortion, and to make decisions about their own health and their own body. The erosion of these rights through incremental restrictions on time limit for abortions restricts this right and works to erode it away. Women must have the right to make decisions about their bodies – not anti-choice members of parliament of the clergy.

As a constituent I am asking you to vote against the proposals to lower to upper time limit for abortions, as proposed in the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill to be debated on May 20th.

Yours sincerely.
[Your name here]