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Women's minister calls for abortion limit cut

The legal abortion limit should be lowered to 20 weeks because of dramatic advances in medical science, according to the new women’s minister.

Maria Miller said it was “common sense” to lower the limit from the current 24 weeks as care for extremely premature babies has improved so rapidly.

In some cases doctors are now able to save the lives of children born within six months of conception.

The advances have raise the moral dilemma of whether it is right to end pregnancies which could result in a healthy child, or to lower the limit and deny some women the right to make their own choice.

Mrs Miller told The Daily Telegraph: “You have got to look at these matters in a very common sense way.

“I looked at it from the really important stance of the impact on women and children.

“What we are trying to do here is not to put obstacles in people’s way but to reflect the way medical science has moved on.”

Her comments come after figures revealed that England and Wales has the highest rate of abortions among women aged under 20 in Europe.

There are 22 terminations per 1,000 women aged between 15-19, according to the study by the Guttmacher Institute in New York.

In 2008, Mrs Miller voted in the Commons to reduce the legal limit for abortion to 20 weeks.

And the MP, who was appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Women and Equalities in David Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle last month, said she would “absolutely” do the same a second time.

She insisted her decision to was not a snub to women’s rights, describing herself as a “very modern feminist” who is “riven by that very practical impact that late-term abortion has on women”.

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