UK Health Secretary backs 12-week abortion limit

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LONDON (AP) -- Britain's new health secretary has said he favors reducing the time limit for women to have abortions from 24 to 12 weeks, sparking criticism from opposition lawmakers and women's rights activists.

Jeremy Hunt said he believed that 12 weeks was "the right point," telling the Times newspaper in an interview published Saturday: "It is just my view about that incredibly difficult question about the moment that we should deem life to start."

The Prime Minister's office at Downing Street stressed that Hunt was expressing purely personal views, and that the government has no plans to change laws on abortion.

The 24 week limit applies to England, Wales and Scotland. Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland except in exceptional medical situations.

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