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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Call for abortion 'cool off' period

31st October 2006

Independent legislation to introduce a 10-day cooling off period for women before undergoing an abortion is set to go before parliament.

During the 10 days, a woman should be given information and counselling on the alternatives, as well as the risks associated with the procedure, argues Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, who will introduce the bill under the Ten Minute Rule.

The rule allows MPs to talk in the House of Commons for ten minutes. Even if MPs back the bill, the government rarely allow a Ten Minute Rule Bill to progress far enough to become law but many MPs use it as a campaigning tool.

Ms Dorries is also calling to reduce the abortion time limit from 24 weeks to 21 weeks.

Usually the argument for reducing the time limit focuses on the viability of whether the foetus can survive outside the womb, but Ms Dorries is arguing after 21 weeks a foetus may feel pain.

There were 186,400 abortions in England and Wales during 2005.

The Department of Health say almost nine out of 10 abortions are carried out before the 13th week of pregnancy, with 67 per cent performed at under 10 weeks.

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