Abortion law in the UK sets out an upper limit of 24 weeks, but most pregnancy terminations are carried out much sooner than this.
Why is There a Time Limit on Abortion?
The time limits on abortion are there for important reasons. Although there is some debate over precisely where the limit should be set, there are various ethical and medical arguments behind it. For example, it would not make sense to use abortion to save a pregnant woman’s life if she is so close to her due date that the baby can safely be delivered early. However, there are some rare cases in which a later abortion (after the usual 24 week limit) may be necessary for medical reasons in order to save a woman’s life or because of a severe foetal abnormality.
Time Limits for Abortion Procedures
Another reason why there is a time limit on abortion is that some types of termination can only be safely and effectively used during earlier stages of the pregnancy. Several different types of abortion are available in the UK, each of which has a different time limit. For example, at the 132 Healthwise clinic we provide:
- Medical terminations with the abortion pill up to 9 weeks
- Manual vacuum aspiration up to 12 weeks
- Surgical termination of pregnancy by dilation and curettage between 9 and 19 weeks
If you are pregnant and not sure if you want to continue, it is best to seek advice as soon as possible as you will have more choices and more time to think about your decision. However, help is still available if you need it a little later due to a change in your health or circumstances, just be aware that there are time limits on abortion procedures that will restrict your choices.