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Late abortion - can someone clarify the law for me? Article in Red mag (Aug) that seemed misleading

(17 Posts)
TheBlonde Mon 15-Sep-08 18:42:08

In the Aug issue of Red there was a piece by Lori Campbell titled "what the late abortion debate really means for women".
I can't find the mag now but iirc it argued that the abortion limit should stay at 24 weeks so that if you discover a serious/terminal abnormality you can have a termination.

I thought you could terminate up to term for severe mental or physical abnormality? Is this not the case?

I thought up to 24 weeks was for 'social' reasons, mother's mental health etc?

RandomIdiot Mon 15-Sep-08 18:43:56

No I think the "social" reasons etc. was 12-15wks ish.

I thought medical diability was 24 weeks as that is the point of medical viability.

I have to say though I had never rreally looked into it.

lulumama Mon 15-Sep-08 18:45:05

i thought so too....

lilymolly Mon 15-Sep-08 18:46:52

No latest you can have an abortion is 24 weeks regardless of cause/reason

CarGirl Mon 15-Sep-08 18:46:53

The baby aborted for cleft palate (big news story one) was after 24 weeks as it was agreed by the drs it was a severe handicap

zippitippitoes Mon 15-Sep-08 18:47:19

i believe you can terminate later

RandomIdiot Mon 15-Sep-08 18:48:13

Cleft palate can be an indicator of other severe anomolies though I think..

CarGirl Mon 15-Sep-08 18:48:35

The Blonde you are correct

In addition, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 permits abortion at any stage of pregnancy where there is a ‘substantial risk’ of ‘serious handicap’and over 100 such procedures take place each year after this limit.

cece Mon 15-Sep-08 18:49:12

When I had a high risk screening the consultant said to me if you do decide to terminate then it is better to decide before 22 weeks. He said it was better for me and the staff who had to look after me. (not that I had one..)

I thought it was till term for a life threatening disability.

CarGirl Mon 15-Sep-08 18:49:31

Yes RandomIdiot cleft palate can be, I was just highlighting that indeed you can have a termination after 24 weeks.

missblythe Mon 15-Sep-08 18:49:58

You can terminate later.

A friend who has a severely disabled child, and has just had another baby, was told that the hospital would support her decision to terminate up to 34 weeks if they discovered from her many scans that the second baby would also have a disablity.

cece Mon 15-Sep-08 18:50:07

Look on here

TheBlonde Mon 15-Sep-08 18:50:12

I found this on the bbc

Abortion up to 24 weeks is also allowed if there is a substantial risk that the child when born would suffer "such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped".

Abortions after 24 weeks are allowed if there is grave risk to the life of the woman; evidence of severe foetal abnormality; or risk of grave physical and mental injury to the woman.

ClairePO Mon 15-Sep-08 18:51:32

You can terminate up to term for severe problems with the baby or serious health risk to mother AFAIK.

TheBlonde Mon 15-Sep-08 18:52:47

There is a letter from in reader in the current mag in support of the 24 week limit - the reader had a termination due to a chromo abnormality that was considered incompatible with life - surely this would have been allowed up to term

CarGirl Mon 15-Sep-08 18:57:24

Yes it would have TheBlonde

tiggerlovestobounce Mon 15-Sep-08 19:22:02

TheBlonde is right.
Here is a C+P of the relevant detail:

In England, Scotland and Wales the Abortion Act 1967 (as amended by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990) permits the termination of pregnancy, by a registered medical practitioner, up to 24 weeks’ gestation where:

'the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family'.

A pregnancy may lawfully be terminated up to birth where:

'the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman; or

'the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated; or

'there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.'

In all circumstances except where termination is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, the law requires that agreement is obtained from two doctors and that the abortion takes place on approved premises.

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