Him again. Sorry.
THIS BLOGPOST CONTAINS UPDATES WHICH FOLLOW THE ORIGINAL POST & A FOLLOW UP POST HERE.
Jeremy Hunt MP, the current health secretary, has recently said that he would back a call for the legal limit for abortion to be cut from 24 weeks to 12 weeks – he also states that his decision to do this is evidence-based.
I don’t claim to have a particularly comprehensive knowledge of the medical/scientific evidence surrounding the time during pregnancy beyond which abortion is not safe/feasible/practical, but I have never seen any evidence that claims to back a 12 week limit. Certainly, it is clear in the 2006-7 parliament report into scientific developments relating to abortion[PDF] that no evidence appears to have been presented that supports a 12 week limit. Perhaps there is some new evidence I have not seen?
I would be very interested indeed to see the evidence upon which Jeremy Hunt has based his decision. So interested, in fact, that I have submitted a freedom of information request to the department of health so that I might see this evidence. Without this evidence I cannot possibly make an informed decision on this matter, so it is imperative that the evidence be made available for everyone to read for themselves.
I would also echo calls made on twitter that “There should be a legal requirement, any time an MP says their view is backed by evidence, they must publish said evidence.”
The department of health have until the 2nd of November 2012 to reply to my FOI request. Any and all responses I get will be blogged.
EDIT – 19/10/2012
Today Jeremy Hunt appeared on the Radio 4 Today program. He was asked by Justin Webb about where he got the evidence for his stance on reducing the legal limit for abortion from 24 weeks to 12 weeks, and on his views on the efficacy (or otherwise) of homeopathy. Hunt does a superb answer of answering almost any other question he can think of. He was pointedly asked what his evidence was, and where he got it from. He did not answer the question. You can listen to a clip of the interview here. As of today, I have had an acknowledgement from the DoH about my FOI request, but nothing further. They have until the 02/11/2012 to reply.
- Jeremy Hunt has no evidence for his abortion stance (newstatesman.com)
- Scientific developments relating to the abortion act 1967 [PDF] (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/)
- Hunt backs abortion limit change (bbc.co.uk)
- Maria Miller, a very modern feminist? Don’t make me laugh | Tanya Gold (guardian.co.uk)
- Jeremy Hunt backs 12-week legal limit on abortions (guardian.co.uk)
- I believe abortion limit should be 12 weeks, says Jeremy Hunt (independent.co.uk)
- Hunt backing reform to abortion law (standard.co.uk)
- Jeremy Hunt is controversial appointment as Health Secretary (telegraph.co.uk)