Fom the BBC
Dawn Primarolo is unpersuaded of the need to change the abortion law
Health Minister Dawn Primarolo says the government does not believe there is sufficient scientific evidence to lower the legal abortion limit of 24 weeks.
She said nothing had persuaded the Department of Health that survival rates had improved for extremely premature babies born before that time.
The Pro-Life Alliance wants the upper limit cut to 20 weeks.
But the British Medical Association says the number surviving at 24 weeks is still "extremely small".
Ms Primarolo is giving evidence to the Commons science and technology committee, which is looking at medical advances since the Abortion Act was passed in 1967 - rather than the ethical or moral issues associated with abortion time limits.
The committee is also questioning Fiona Adshead, deputy chief medical officer for England.
Ms Primarolo told MPs: "The Department of Health's view and the advice to me is that - and that's why there is no proposals from the government to amend the act - that the act works as intended and doesn't require further amendment at the present time."
She said 89% of abortions were carried out before 13 weeks and 68% before 10 weeks. The viability of babies born at 21 weeks was 0%, at 22 weeks 1% and 23 weeks 11%, she said.
"The medical consensus still indicates that whilst improvements have been made in care that at the moment that concept of viability cannot constantly be pushed back," she said.
However, Dr Peter Saunders, general secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said it was not only doctors with religious beliefs who preferred not to carry out abortions.
He said one in five doctors will not refer patients for the procedure.
"A woman with an unwanted pregnancy is in crisis - whether she decides to have an abortion, to keep the baby, have an adoption, whatever - that's going to affect her life forever," he told Today.
Lord Steel, the architect of the 1967 Abortion Act, said too many abortions were taking place and the procedure was now being used as a form of contraception.
He told The Guardian he was not persuaded that the 24-week limit should be cut, but called for better sex education and a debate on sexual morality to bring the numbers down.
Catholic and Church of England leaders have called for a reassessment of abortion's role in society, as the 40th anniversary of the Act is marked.
In an open letter Cardinals Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and Keith O'Brien accepted that abortion will not be abolished, but stressed that it "robbed everyone of their future".
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, warned that abortion was increasingly regarded as normal, rather than as a procedure of last resort.
According to the Department of Health, 193,000 abortions happened in England and Wales last year, of which 89% were performed in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.
The Pro-Life Alliance says babies born at 24 weeks now have a much better chance of survival than when the Abortion Act was passed.
But the BMA says that, despite "very considerable" scientific advances, the number of babies born at 24 weeks and surviving is still "extremely small". - end BBC quote.
The BMA is dominated by quacks making money out of abortion. They would say that wouldn't they? They murder babies who are viable no matter how few they are.
Labels: abortion, B.B.C.