MPs Back Plan for Abortion on Demand
British MPs have voted by 172 to 142 to completely decriminalise abortion in England and Wales. Labour MP Diana Johnson’s Private Member’s Bill will now be debated further but it is unlikely to become law unless it is backed by the Government. Pro-life campaigners fear, however, that the Bill could pave the way for the legalisation by stealth of abortion after the current 24-week limit.
Introducing her Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill, Miss Johnson said she wanted to change “Victorian” laws that carry a life sentence for women and doctors. She said: “Women are poorly served by laws which state that even early-term abortions are inherently criminal, and doctors are poorly served by a criminal framework which doesn’t apply to other areas of healthcare.”
She argued that the law was inappropriate in an age when women can access abortion pills by post. Speaking against the motion, Conservative MP Maria Caulfield argued the Bill would be “a charter for unsafe abortion practices not dissimilar to the backstreet abortions”.
The Bill is backed by the Royal College of Midwives and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Britain’s largest abortion provider which receives £26 million a year from the NHS.
Rob Flello, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, said: “The proposed Bill, which would allow for abortion on demand up to birth for any reason, is extreme and out of touch with the views of the general public.”
Fiona Bruce MP, chairman of the Parliamentary pro-life group, added: “The proposal would remove many safeguards, currently there to help women make an informed decision, such as discussing their situation with a medical professional so they know all their options, and the risks involved. “Today’s proposal, suggesting, for example, that women could obtain abortion pills by post, would deny them this opportunity, which can be critical for women in abusive situations – often the only chance they have to speak to someone about the pressures they are facing.”
The Daily Mail. March 14.