Jeremy Hunt’s belief that the legal limit for abortion should be reduced from 24 weeks to 12 is “staggering”, according to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.
BPAS spokeswoman Clare Murphy told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer there was “no medical argument” around changing the legal limit for the procedure.
She was particularly shocked given Mr Hunt's time as health secretary.
“What I find staggering is in the course of those six years as health secretary you would have hoped that in the course of that time he would have improved his understanding of the reasons why women need second trimester abortions,” she said.
“As health secretary he did absolutely nothing to improve women’s access to early services. It took Matt Hancock to come in to approve the best clinical centres of care for women seeking early abortion.”
She added: “Jeremy Hunt did everything he could to stand in the way of that.”
The Conservative leadership hopeful said he was firm in his belief abortions should only be allowed for women up to 12 weeks after conception.
Despite this, Mr Hunt pledged he would not seek to change the laws if he became Prime Minister.
Ms Murphy said the percentage of abortions that take place after 12 weeks is “probably less than 10 per cent”. She predicted any change to abortion laws would affect young women the most.
“They are largely to do with late detection of pregnancy, so you particularly see this among younger women, teenage girls,” she said.
“You see among women who’ve been using some of the most effective methods of contraception which can alter bleeding patterns. They don’t suspect they’re pregnant.”
Ms Murphy said despite the “discomfort” around abortion, the choice should ultimately come down to the mother instead of politicians.
“You have to leave that decision making in the hands of the woman who must see through the consequences of it,” she said.