There were 181,600 abortions in the UK in 2003, 2% of which occurred after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Last year, the Methodist Conference was asked to consider supporting a lowering of the number of weeks before which an abortion can be carried out and agreed to keep abreast of any proposals to change the legislation. The Conference reasserted that while there is never any moment when the foetus lacks human significance and it would wish to see an end to late abortions, there are serious concerns that need to be addressed before it can support a reduction in the time limit. In particular, the report draws attention to the need for sufficient guaranteed provision of pregnancy advice and the provision of terminations under circumstances where there is direct physical threat to the life of the mother, or when new information about serious abnormality in the foetus becomes apparent at a late stage. Anthea Cox, Co-ordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice, commented that "It's clear that women who have late abortions don't do so lightly. We need wisdom and an understanding of how both women and men are affected by late abortions. We must see the issue of late abortion in a broad context paying as much attention to the need for better support and guidance for pregnant women as specifics of the time limit. It would not seem to be necessary to change from our current position at this time." The report also pledges an ongoing commitment to monitor public debate about the issue and includes a summary of news stories relating to abortion from March 2005 to January 2006. Source: Methodist Media Office
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