LEICESTER, United Kingdom – A proposed amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill would lead to abortion on demand until the 28th week of pregnancy in England and Wales, according to pro-life leaders.

The UK Parliament is expected to start debating the bill on July 6, and there have been proposals to use the legislation to repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act and result in the introduction of abortion on demand, for any reason, until the 28th week of pregnancy.

In England and Wales, abortions are not allowed after the 24th week of pregnancy, although there are exceptions to the law.

“This is being presented as decriminalizing abortion, but it would, if carried, do far more than that,” said Bishop John Sherrington, who is in charge of life issues for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, in a July 1 statement.

“It would leave the UK with the most extreme abortion legislation in Europe, where in nearly all countries the time limit for abortion is 12 weeks,” Sherrington added.

He noted that polls show the majority of UK citizens would like to see the current 24-week limit reduced, not increased.

In addition, the bishop said it would “also have the effect of removing the clauses in the Abortion Act 1967 which enable medical practitioners to exercise conscientious objection in relation to abortion.”

The proposed amendments are being promoted by BPAS, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said it was “highly inappropriate for the abortion lobby to hijack the Domestic Abuse Bill in a way that not only undermines its support for victims of domestic abuse and their families but could also result in women and their babies facing more harm.”

Antonia Tully of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children called the proposed amendments “totally toxic.”

“If they are passed, unborn children will have no legal protection under the criminal law and dangerous home abortions will put vulnerable women at greater risk from coerced abortion,” she said in a July 2 statement.

She also said it was “scandalous that a bill designed to protect women from domestic abuse is being highjacked to decriminalize abortion.”

“Abortion is a form of domestic abuse. Many women are coerced into abortion. These amendments play straight into the hands of abusive men,” Tully said.

Follow Charles Collins on Twitter: @CharlesinRome