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Wednesday, 24 January, 2001, 10:47 GMT
Top Tory 'calls for abortion restrictions'
Dr Liam Fox
Dr Liam Fox made his comments in a Christian publication
Shadow health secretary Dr Liam Fox favours new restrictions on abortion, it is reported.

The Independent newspaper says that Dr Fox made his comments in an article published in a Christian booklet.

In the piece, Dr Fox, a former GP, is said to call for the 24-week limit on terminations to be reduced.

He is also reported to have called on fellow Tories to pray for " a huge restriction, if not abolition, of our pro-abortion laws" in the new Conservative Christian Fellowship prayerbook.

The views echo those of party leader William Hague and the Catholic shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe.

Manifesto pledge

Support is growing among Christian Tories for a manifesto pledge to bring forward a Bill on the issue if the party wins the next general election.

Conservative Central Office refused to comment on the reports, saying views on abortion were a "private matter".

However, Shadow Cabinet Office minister Andrew Lansley said on Wednesday that the Conservative Party would not be adopting policies to limit the availability of abortion.

He told the BBC Radio Four Today programme: "As distinct from America, it is not a party political issue in this country, and we have no intention of making it so.

"The way these matters are conducted in this country is that such issues are always treated as a free vote and individual members of Parliament make a decision on the basis of their own individual views and consciences."

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See also:

01 Jan 01 | Health
Fresh row over morning-after pill
23 Jan 01 | Americas
Bush blocks abortion funding
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