MPs unite in attempt to cut abortion limit to 20 weeks
LABOUR AND CONSERVATIVE MPs are set to unite in a cross-party attempt to reduce the upper abortion time limit from 24 to 20 weeks.
Talks are being held between members of both parties who want to see the Government’s Human Tissue and Embryology Bill, formally introduced to Parliament last night, amended.
The Bill is set to trigger a highly-charged debate between pro and anti-abortionists, who will both want to use it to further their stances.
Nadine Dorries, a Tory member of the science and technology committee, which recently examined abortion laws, will lead the attempt to reduce access to abortions. ‘There will be a joint effort [with Labour] on the amendment because that is the only way this thing is going to work,’ she said.
Meanwhile, MPs who support a more liberal approach to abortion, including Evan Harris, a Liberal Democrat member of the science committee, are said to be preparing amendments to allow nurses to carry out terminations without supervision from a doctor.
The competing amendments to the Bill could cause a conundrum for Labour. Because it is a government Bill, they would normally seek to impose the party line on Labour members. But abortion is traditionally a ‘conscience issue’ where MPs are free to vote as they wish.
The Human Tissues and Embryos Bill is not expected to reach the House of Commons until February.