In a September 2008 interview, asked whether the current 24-week limit on abortion should be reduced, Stewart answered "Certainly – to 22 weeks. It's now clear that life can be sustained below 24 weeks. I don't take an extremist view and usually have a pro-life [sic?] perspective, but medical development has moved on". However, the October 2007 Science and Technology Select Committee report on abortion stated that "we reach the conclusion, shared by the RCOG and the BMA, that while survival rates at 24 weeks and over have improved they have not done so below that gestational point. Put another way, we have seen no good evidence to suggest that foetal viability has improved significantly since the abortion time limit was last set, and seen some good evidence to suggest that it has not."
Mr Stewart voted for Nadine Dorries’s amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill on 7 September 2011, which was ultimately defeated by 368 to 118 votes. This amendment would have stopped BPAS and Marie Stopes from providing counselling for women with unwanted pregnancies and allowed ‘independent’ counselling including that provided by faith-based organisations.
In February 2015 Iain Stewart voted against allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease. If allowed, mitochondrial donation would be regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) meaning that there would be ongoing assessment of the safety and efficacy of such procedures. An October 2014 briefing report by the HFEA, which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed. The majority of MPs voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation.
Nomination of David Tredinnick for Health Committee Chair
In 2014 Mr Stewart was one of 20 MPs to nominate David Tredinnick (an outspoken advocate of alternative medicine) for the position of Chair of the Health Select Committee. It is not known if Mr Stewart subsequently voted for Mr Tredinnick, who only received nine votes in the anonymous ballot.
- http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm, para 46
- https://twitter.com/julianhuppert/status/481110771217469440 & https://twitter.com/julianhuppert/status/481111043796914176 & https://twitter.com/julianhuppert/status/481352356777697281
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