Page last updated at 19:40 GMT, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 20:40 UK

In quotes: Abortion debate

Here is what the key players had to say in a Commons debate on cutting the 24-week upper limit for abortions to 20 weeks or less.

HEALTH MINISTER DAWN PRIMAROLO

"The upper gestational limit for termination of pregnancy was set by Parliament in 1990 at 24 weeks because the scientific evidence of the time was that the threshold of viability had increased and babies were increasingly surviving at 24 weeks and above. That was the case in 1990 and it's certainly the case now."

NADINE DORRIES - CONSERVATIVE MP

"I believe a baby has rights. Those rights kick in if that baby were born it would have a chance of life and if it feels pain as part of the abortion."

EDWARD LEIGH - CONSERVATIVE MP

"In modern Britain the most dangerous place to be is in your mother's womb. It should be a place of sanctity."

MARK PRITCHARD - CONSERVATIVE MP

"I believe that terminating a child that's been woven and knitted in the womb should be a choice of last resort, not the latest manifestation of Britain's throwaway society."

CHRIS MCCAFFERTY - LABOUR MP

"Putting restrictions in the way of a woman who has made that decision is just prolonging the agony...Any reduction in the upper limit would be cynical, cruel, ill-informed and inhumane."

DR JOHN PUGH - LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MP

"The moral reality is that if you abort a baby at 22 weeks you may - and you cannot know you are not - be aborting a baby or foetus viable within the narrow meaning of the Act. There are people in our world today in no way inferior to us in capacity, intelligence and beauty who were born at 22 weeks. That ought to give us cause for reflection."

CLAIRE CURTIS-THOMAS - LABOUR MP

"I'm not opposed to abortion - I believe that women have the right to choose. I just hope they don't choose to have an abortion. I can't accept that we keep the limit where it stands where there is a possibility of life. The majority of people are deeply uncomfortable with that prospect."

JUDY MALLABER - LABOUR MP

"I dread the idea that we might go backwards. I dread the idea that we might force women, against their moral views, into a possibility where they are forced to bear a child, to go through a pregnancy in a situation in which they might feel desperate."





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