Jeremy Hunt, UK Health Secretary, Backs 12-Week Abortion Limit

In a new shift, Britain's new health secretary insisted that there should be a reduction in the time limit for women who are considering getting an abortion. The remarks have already produced criticism from several women's rights organizations.

Jeremy Hunt, who recently assumed his new role of health secretary, explained that while he understands the seriousness concerning this debate, he feels that reducing the time limit from 24-weeks to 12-weeks is the right point to start with when considering the moment life starts.

"Everyone looks at the evidence and comes to a view about when they think that moment is, and my own view is that 12 weeks is the right point for it … It is just my view about that incredibly difficult question about the moment that we should deem life to start," Hunt told The Sunday Times U.K. during an interview.

Hunt did not cite any specific scientific evidence to explain his position, nor did he assume any religious motives for his statement.

"It's just my view about that incredibly difficult question about the moment that we should deem life to start. I don't think the reason I have that view is for religious reasons," Hunt said.

The statements were made a day before the annual Conservative Party conference began on Oct. 7 and quickly drew criticism from abortion advocacy groups, which said they would challenge any attempt to change the current law.

"I think women and families across the country will find it staggering that the priority for this government is playing politics with people's lives like this," Labour Party spokeswoman Diane Abbott said during a press conference.

"Late abortion only affects a small number of women, who are often in extremely challenging circumstances," she added

But the prime minister's office highlighted the fact that Hunt was talking about his own personal views and that the government has no plans to alter any current laws regarding abortion.