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Monday, February 27, 2017
Survey shows most women think abortion is cruel and want change in law
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¬†The vast majority of women believe that abortion is "cruel" and that the existing law should be changed, according to the biggest-ever professional survey of female opinion in Britain. The survey also shows that most people ≠ men and women ≠ believe that too many abortions are being carried out each year and want to see the 200,000 a year toll reduced. Another key finding is that women overwhelmingly want Government money spent on charities offering alternatives to abortion, such as adoption. Eighty five per cent want to see more help given to women who want to keep their baby rather than further moves to make abortion easier. The poll, carried out by CommunicateResearch for the campaigning group Choose Life, will add to the mounting pressure for a change in the abortion law and a reduction in the current upper limit. But the poll suggests that women will not be satisfied with a simple reduction in the upper time limit of 24 weeks if that simply results in an increase in early abortions. Most want to see fewer terminations overall and wider availability of alternatives to abortion. It comes shortly before a major public debate in London between doctors and lawyers on opposing sides of the abortion argument. Barrister Charles Foster and Professor Patricia Casey will declare that the the number of UK abortions is too high and that the Abortion Act, last revised in 1990, should be reviewed. They will be opposed by barrister Nick Toms and Dr Wendy Savage. Tory leader David Cameron and his predecessor Michael Howard have both backed calls for a lower limit and the leader of Britain's Roman Catholics Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor is to meet Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt next week to press for a tightening of the law. Professor Casey said: "For years abortion has been cast as a central tenet of feminism and as essential to women's empowerment. But recent developments in pro-life feminism give the lie to this thesis and abortion has devastating effects on the psychological well-being of many women. "There have been several influential studies published recently that show an increased risk for psychiatric disorder and psychiatric hospitalisation among women who have abortions. "So, contrary to the early feminist rhetoric promoting abortion as a positive choice for women with crisis pregnancies, women deserve better and we cannot and should not act as oppressors of our unborn children as we were once oppressed by the structures within society. " Andrea Williams, public policy officer for the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, which is organising Monday's debate, said: "This poll confirms that women in this country are deeply unhappy with the existing abortion laws and want them tightened up." 78 per cent of women want a compulsory cooling-off period between diagnosis of pregnancy and any abortion. 96 per cent of women want a right to be fully informed of the medical risks associated with abortion. The most common reason for abortion is perceived to be on grounds of disability (66 per cent), and this proportion is even higher among women than among men. But this is far from correct. In 2004 only one per cent of abortions in England & Wales took place for this reason. Only around one-third of people are aware that abortion is legal up to birth if the baby is disabled. Full details of the poll can be viewed at The debate on the Abortion Act will be held at Inner Temple Hall, Temple, London at 6pm today. The debate, organised by the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, will feature speakers from Alive and Kicking and Abortion Rights and will be chaired by Mr Justice Cooke. The motion for debate is: "This House believes that there are too many abortions in the UK and that the Abortion Act should be reviewed. For the motion, barrister Charles Foster and Professor Patricia Casey of University College, Dublin. Against the motion: Barrister Barbara Hewson and Dr Wendy Savage.
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