Sounds like Deborah Davies has been doing the rounds, promoting her Dispatches programme.
The Today programme had a discussion between Prof. Campbell (who wants to reduce the age limit for abortion) and David Steel (who also wants to lower the limit) so was obviously very balanced - and, contrary to gimpy, the debate was again framed in terms of viability and 4D ultrasound images. To the credit of the interviewer she at least challenged the scientific merit of 4D ultrasound over the emotive aspects. Also reported by the Mail on Sunday.
Yesterday's news contained the revelation that members of anti-abortion campaign groups have been asked to declare their affiliation when they give evidence to the Commons committee:
As with a number of outlets the Observer focuses on the Dispatches programme showing footage of abortion, as well covering calls for nurses to perform early stage abortions.
"Evan Harris MP, the Liberal Democrats' science spokesperson, said:
"This inquiry is specifically about the scientific evidence not moral or religious arguments and our witnesses need to be evidence-led not ideologically or theologically driven. The CMF [Christian Medical Fellowship] risk undermining the inquiry by getting people called as expert scientific witnesses when they are not."
Two witnesses who will give evidence today, Chris Richards, a paediatrician and honorary clinical lecturer at Newcastle University, and John Wyatt, a neonatal paediatrician at University College London, are members of CMF, but did not disclose that on their original submission."
The Telegraph reports that:
The Guardian reports that the RCOG (in line with the BMA) want to keep the 24wk limit and abolish the need for 2 doctors to approve.
"A row has broken out over the 24-week time limit for abortion after conflicting scientific studies clashed over the survival rate for babies born at that stage.
Epicure 2, a nationwide report from a Government-linked organisation, revealed that the chance of survival lay between 10 and 15 per cent, according to evidence submitted to the Science and Technology Committee at the House of Commons.
But other evidence given to the committee - which will make the decision whether to recommend a change in the limit - contradicted the findings and claimed survival rates were as high as 42 per cent at 23 weeks and 72 per cent at 24 weeks gestation."
The Times reports that:
The Telegraph likewise, also saying:
"Marie Stopes International, which carries out 60,000 abortions a year at its nine clinics in Britain, says the 24-week limit ought to lowered to 20 weeks because of evidence that the foetus is “potentially viable” before 24 weeks. This shift in policy leaves opponents to a reduction in the time limit, who include Tony Blair and many Labour MPs, increasingly isolated.
"As part of any reform, however, Marie Stopes would also want women to be eligible for abortions up to 12 weeks without having to gain permission from doctors — two must now give their written consent for the procedure. It says women seeking a termination between 13 and 20 weeks should have the signature of one doctor."
"A Telegraph poll last month showed that mostAccording to Channel 4:
people, including a large majority of women, agree with him that the upper limit
should be cut back. It found that 55 per cent of voters of both sexes would
welcome new laws reducing the time limit."
"The survey by Marie Stopes International (MSI), the leading abortion services provider outside of the NHS, found 52% of GPs want women to be able to request an abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Currently, two doctors must give written consent before a woman can go ahead with an abortion.
The poll of 1,000 registered GPs across Britain found 80% described themselves as broadly "pro-choice", while 20% said they were "anti abortion".
Almost two thirds of doctors (65%) thought the current 24-week time limit for abortion should be reduced. Of those who wanted a reduction, 62% agreed with a 20 to 23-week limit.
Three in five doctors (62%) said current guidelines allowing under-16s to have an abortion ithout the consent or knowledge of their parents were satisfactory.Findings from the survey will feature in Channel 4's Dispatches: Abortion: What We Need To Know, which screens on Wednesday. The documentary will also look at scientific research into foetal pain and pre-term infant viability."
There have been some fairly divergent figures reported for foetal viability at 20 weeks plus (25% have a normal life according to the Today programme, whereas I reported 30% survival at 24 weeks) so I though I'd have a look at the literature (these are articles listed as related by medline to the Belgian source I used in the previous post, and where the abstract looked relevant, and I could get data for 24 weeks or less, and it came up before I got bored - remember that infants born premature may conceivably be less viable than aborted infants at the same age):
Belgium 1999-2000 (previously mentioned study): 22 wks 0%; 24wks 29% survival to discharge (hmm, looks like it may include some late abortions though!)
22-23 wks 7%; 24wks 35% of NICU admissions discharged alive
24 wks 4% NICU admissions survive with no major sequelae of prematurity ('intact')
German tertiary centres 1999-2003: 22-23 wks 52%; 24 wks 70% survival to 8 days
22-23wks 56-76%; 24 wks 74-88% survive to discharge with life support at all gestational ages 36% have no major complications of prematurity
Japan 1991-2000: 22wks 40%; 24wks 50% 1 year survival
22wks 0%; 24wks 74% free of handicap
Canada 1996-1997: 22wks 15%; 24 wks 54% survival to discharge
Austria 1999-2001: 22wks 17%; 24wks 57% 1 year survival
22wks 6%; 24 wks 14% survival with no major complications
This gives us a range of survival at 22 wks of 0%-17%, for 24wks 29%-88%; and a range of disability at 22wks of 94%-100%, 24wks 26%-96%.