4 October 2012
Maria Miller must step down as Women’s Minister if she continues to place her opinion before facts on abortion, says Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.
The Conservative MP angered women’s groups and doctors by calling for the ‘time limit’ set for abortions to be reduced from 24 to 20 weeks gestation.
Ms Bennett responded: ‘That support for a reduction in the abortion time limit should come from the women's minister, who should be speaking up for the very small but very vulnerable group of women who have abortions at between 20 and 24 weeks gestation, is particularly disturbing. What is worse is that she claims this is based on “common sense”.’
Ms Miller voted in 2008 for a proposal to set a 20-week time limit on abortion which was defeated.
She claims modern science has increased the survival chances of babies born at 24 weeks so much that the current limit is too low.
But the British Medical Association and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have said that this is not the case.
A BMA spokesman said: ‘The BMA does not believe there is any scientific justification to reduce the abortion limit from 24 to 20 weeks. We will not be lobbying for any reduction.’
Ms Bennett said: ‘What the Minister should be doing is looking at the medical evidence. She claimed that there has been a chance in the survival rates of extremely premature babies – specialists in medicine and obstetrics say this is not a fact.
‘I would urge Ms Miller to read the evidence for herself.
‘And while she is of course entitled to her own personal views on abortion, if she is not prepared to present the facts on behalf of the women she is supposed to be representing, then she should step down as women's minister.’
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