an After abortion

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Today we're starting to cover the story that started yesterday when The Telegraph ran a expose of probably illegal late-term abortion referrals provided by the state-funded British Pregnancy Abortion Service (BPAS). Scroll down for more links.

It is time to think what it means to kill a foetus after 24 weeks is the op-ed written by the pregnant undercover journalist who reported the story.

I am not in favour of making all abortion illegal: I believe that any abortion is a source for profound regret, but that it is a choice that women are entitled to make at an early stage in a pregnancy, often because of other factors in their lives.

I strongly believe, however, that there now needs to be a fresh debate about the number of weeks at which a pregnancy can be legally terminated.

This should come in the wake of recent medical technology which has deepened our understanding of a baby's development in the womb, coupled with the fact that medical advances now allow growing numbers of premature babies to survive at an increasingly early stage.

Doctors should not be aborting foetuses at a stage at which another doctor - operating under a different set of instructions - could give that same baby a reasonable chance of leading a full and healthy life.

Too many women treat abortion as a morally viable option even at a very late stage in a pregnancy. They create the demand, and culpable doctors such as Dr Tanda go on to fulfil it by providing illegal, late-term abortions - effectively early infanticide.

But if these women could be persuaded to endure just another three months of pregnancy - which almost all would if illegal interventions such as those we uncovered in Barcelona were not available - such is the demand for adoption that their unwanted babies could be guaranteed a loving home for the rest of their lives.

At no point did BPAS attempt to talk me out of my apparent "decision" to terminate my pregnancy at such a late stage. No counselling was offered.

Many women who seek late-term abortions are themselves in a state of confusion and desperation. If they were offered professional reassurance instead of encouraged towards such a grotesque "solution", they might be prevented from making a decision which may well haunt them for the rest of their lives.

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