Reducing time period for a termination

Foetus  Credit: Dr Nadja Reissland, Durham University.
Foetus Credit: Dr Nadja Reissland, Durham University.
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I’m a year 11 student from Outwood Academy City in Sheffield who is collaborating with a group of students in a campaign to raise awareness and hopefully reduce the time period for terminating a pregnancy, which is our ultimate goal.

A scientific study carried out by the Queen Mary University of London, UCL Elizabeth Garret Anderson Institution for Women’s Health, and the University of Leicester, tested, in 2006, the survival to discharge time of 3133 premature births and discovered that 1/3 of the children survived.

Approximately 2 per cent of these were born at 22 weeks, 19 per cent were born at 23 weeks and 40 per cent were born at 24 weeks. Therefore, a total of 1911 of the 3,133 new-borns survived between 22 weeks and 24 weeks.

It has been determined by a scientific study carried out by JAMA in 2005 that the body requires three main components in order to respond to pain: pain receptors in the skin develop at 7.5 to 15 weeks depending where in the body, neurones in the spinal cord transmit signals to the brain which develop at 19 weeks and neurones extending from the spinal cord to the brain develop at 23-24 weeks.

According to statistical evidence provided by the National Health Service (NHS), there are risks that accompany abortion; although these risks are small they are not uncommon.

The risks include:

Infection of the womb which occurs in up to 1 in every 10 abortions

Some of the pregnancy remaining in the womb which occurs in up to 1 in every 20 abortions

Excessive bleeding which occurs in up to 1 in every 1,000 abortions

Damage to the cervix which occurs in up to 1 in every 100 surgical abortions

Damage to the womb which occurs in up to 1 in every 250 surgical abortions and less than 1 in every 1,000 medical abortions.

Despite the fact that these risks are small, abortions are always safest if they are carried out in the earlier stages of pregnancy.

Therefore, my argument is that terminating a pregnancy should be reduced to 22 weeks instead of leaving it at 24 weeks.

This ensures that the foetus does not register pain.

Olivia May

Outwood Academy City, S13