Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has announced that babies will be allowed to extend the length of their pregnancy beyond the normal nine months, as part of the Coalition government's ambitious cost-cutting measures.
The new scheme will see babies entitled to continue in the womb for as long as they like, instead of being forced out by impatient mothers at the end of a conventional pregnancy. "It no longer makes sense to compel people to be born just because they've been gestating for nine months," Mr Duncan Smith told the Commons. "Newborn babies are a huge drain on valuable NHS resources, so it makes very little economic sense for them to carry on popping out when they're still too young to pay National Insurance."
The government expects to make a saving of £2bn in neonatal care over the next five years, although some mothers condemned the plans. “Ageing population my arse,” said one woman, who expected to give birth this week but could now remain pregnant until at least April 2012. “I’m trying everything I can think of to get this little bugger out – spicy food, raspberry tea, sex while driving over potholes, the lot. I bet the government changes its mind when David Cameron realises this means Samantha will be waddling around like a sweating hippo until God knows when.”