Abortion at 39 weeks prompts outrage from British politicians

(AP)

A woman who had an abortion at 39 weeks has prompted outrage from British politicians.

Conservative MP Fiona Bruce and Labour MP Rob Flello have condemned abortion guidelines and a "Jekyll and Hyde approach to disability" which they argue has resulted in "discriminatory" UK law.

The women in question allegedly terminated her pregnancy just days before her due date as her unborn child was considered at considerable risk of being disabled, according to the Daily Express.

UK law currently dictates that grave risk to the mother's life or severe foetal abnormality are the only legal grounds for abortion after 24 weeks, but it is highly unusual for an abortion to be carried out at full term.

The Department of Health has confirmed that in 2013, a further three abortions were undergone by 38-weeks pregnant women, and another two by women 37 weeks pregnant.

"I do not understand how we can have a law which allows the life of a baby with a disability to be ended at full term," Bruce, MP for Congleton and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-life Group, has commented.

"It is a graphic illustration of society's inconsistency on disability. After birth we work hard to ensure equality, but before birth we have laws to prevent the disabled taking their first breath. This medieval, cruel, discriminatory law must change."

Labour MP Rob Flello added: "We have a Jekyll and Hyde approach to disability. On one hand the entire country can be united in praise of Paralympians. On the other we can permit the abortion of children at nine months simply for the crime of having a disability.

"This law desperately needs some sanity."

Pro-life activists have long warned that UK abortion laws are too liberal, and don't offer enough protection against potential abuse. Figures indicate that there was a 20 per cent increase in post-24-week abortions between 2012 and 2013, with a total of 190 last year.

In Ireland, however, pro-choice groups are pressuring the government to loosen its Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, which is currently undergoing scrutiny before the UN Human Rights Committee.

Ireland has been criticised by UN rapporteur Yuval Shany for criminalising pregnant women who have "a right to an abortion" under international human rights law.

However, Pro-life Campaign representative Lorcan Price has contested this argument. "There is no right to abortion in international law. Well-funded abortion industry lobby groups are seeking to mislead the United Nations Committee...by suggesting that the unborn child has no right to life. Such a suggestion is contrary to human rights law," he said, as reported by Life News.

"As a society, we cannot claim to be genuine defenders of human rights unless we also protect the right to life of unborn children. What's at stake in this debate is whether or not we respect the inherent value of every human life."

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