Sometimes the health of the woman or girl may deteriorate during a pregnancy, and giving birth would cause serious harm to her, or even lead to her death. The government’s draft law would allow access to abortion up to “viability” in this situation. These are rare circumstances usually involving wanted pregnancies.
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The government’s draft law would allow abortions to be performed up to “viability” (i.e. when the foetus can survive outside the women’s body) only in two very exceptional situations: where there is a risk of “serious harm” to the woman’s health, or there is a risk to her life Because this health ground requires a risk of “serious harm, it is much narrower than in other countries like England.
In addition, there would also be unrestricted access to abortion services where a “fatal condition” of the foetus has been diagnosed. In these cases of fatal foetal anomaly, terminations generally happen after 20 weeks because it’s not possible to diagnose the anomaly before then.
These are all extremely difficult and often tragic situations for women and their families, as these are usually much-wanted pregnancies. They are also rare. In England, only 1.6 percent of abortions happen after 20 weeks, and only when there are very compelling reasons.