In the United Kingdom, abortion laws are more restrictive than they are in the United States — but abortion is still permitted until 24 weeks of pregnancy. However, according to a new poll, this isn’t something that UK citizens support. A ComRes survey found that two-thirds of respondents want the 24-week limit reduced. More than 2,000 people were interviewed for the survey, which was commissioned by the pro-life group Where Do They Stand.
Six in 10 UK citizens would like to see abortions banned after 20 weeks, with one in three favoring lowering the limit even more, to just 12 weeks. Interestingly, only 1 percent of respondents approve of a new push to “decriminalize” abortion altogether and remove the 24-week abortion limit, allowing women to get abortions at any time throughout pregnancy. And UK citizens favor additional restrictions on abortion, along with reducing the abortion limit.
An overwhelming majority — almost nine out of 10 — want to see sex-selective abortions completely banned. 93 percent of UK women also believe that abortion-minded women should have the right to get independent counseling from someone who has no financial interest in the decision, meaning that an abortionist or an abortion facility staffer would be ruled out.
65 percent also support requiring parental consent for abortion, and a whopping 79 percent of respondents want a five-day “cooling off” period before a woman gets an abortion. A majority also did not agree with taxpayer funding for abortion, and supported protecting freedom of conscience protection for doctors. 76 percent want requirements put into place for abortionists to ensure that a woman is not being coerced into having an abortion.
Currently, in the United Kingdom, abortions are banned after 24 weeks, unless the baby has a prenatal diagnosis of a disability, no matter how mild or easily treated. So even a baby with something as minor as a cleft lip can become the victim of a violent late-term abortion. In the second trimester, an abortionist will typically perform a D&E, or dilation and evacuation, abortion. It is a procedure that takes several days, and can carry a lot of risk for the woman undergoing the abortion. She is at risk for perforation or laceration of the uterus or cervix, often from the baby’s broken bones; her bowels, bladder and rectum can also be damaged, as well as other maternal organs. Forcing the removal of the placenta can also cause severe hemorrhaging, as can injuries to the uterus or cervix during the abortion. She is also at risk for cervical damage, scar tissue, and uterine rupture, which can all cause complications for future pregnancies, such as miscarriage and preterm labor. And as with other abortions, there is a risk of death, which increases the later in the pregnancy this procedure is performed:
If the United Kingdom were to restrict abortions to 20 weeks — or even 12 — it would bring them in line with many other European countries, where abortion is much more heavily restricted than it is in the United States. Waiting periods are common in Europe, and many countries ban abortion after 12 weeks. Legal abortion after 20 weeks is practically unheard of, both in Europe and around the rest of the world. Only four countries allow abortion until birth: the United States, Canada, China, and North Korea. Multiple countries in Europe already require mandatory counseling, while some even require a woman to tell authorities why she wants to have an abortion before being permitted to undergo the procedure.
While abortion advocates may be fighting to make abortion less restricted in the United Kingdom, it’s clear from this survey — as well as abortion laws in the rest of Europe — that this is an extremist point of view, and one most people do not support.