Extreme abortion bill presented to Parliament

02 Nov 2018

On 23rd October Diana Johnson MP presented her Ten Minute Rule Bill seeking to decriminalise abortion England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Describing the bill, Dr Rick Thomas at CMF (Christian Medical Fellowship) wrote ‘’Gone would be the legal requirements that two doctors certify an abortion and that it be performed under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner, for any abortion up to 24 weeks. Gone would be the legal protection against online suppliers of abortion pills or equipment to undertake ‘DIY’ abortions. And gone would be any fear of prosecution for a woman undertaking to abort her baby at any point in her pregnancy up to birth.’ (As quoted by CMF). MPs voted with a majority of 208 to 123 in favour of the bill which will be considered on 23rd November.

Speaking during the Parliamentary debate, Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton said: “It proposes far reaching changes in abortion law, not only in England and Wales but also for Northern Ireland, where abortion has been respected as a devolved matter since 1921. Indeed, it would set a dangerous constitutional precedent of interference. It is not only unconstitutional, it’s untimely. At such a sensitive time in relations between the Westminster government and the Northern Ireland administration, it would completely undermine the substance and spirit of the Good Friday Agreement. And it is unwanted. Northern Ireland is the most recent part of the UK to vote on abortion law in 2016 and by a clear majority to retain their law as it stands. The people of Northern Ireland said just last week when asked, 66% of women there and 70% of 18 – 34’s said that Westminster should not dictate this change to them. If, however, the provence in time decides to change their law that is for them, not for us here in Westminster, to decide.” (As quoted by Right to Life) 

Clare McCarthy, spokesperson for Right to Life commented after the vote saying: “Ms Johnson’s bill goes a lot further than seeking to impose abortion legislation on Northern Ireland. If these proposals were to become law, it would bring about one of the world’s most extreme abortion laws. This Bill would have the effect of making the Abortion Act 1967, along with most of the legal safeguards it provides, void through to at least 24- weeks, i.e over five months, gestation.Recent polling also shows that this move is wildly out of step with public opinion who would actually support more restrictions on the current abortion law in the UK. In fact, 70% of women polled believe that the current 24- week gestational limit for abortion should be reduced. In Britain, abortions can be performed until the 24th week, far beyond the European median of 12 weeks. Diana Johnson’s Bill is very unlikely to become law but should these extreme proposals ever reach the stages of legislative debate in the house, we are hopeful that politicians in Westminster would unite against them in respect of public opinion and of democracy in Northern Ireland.” (As quoted by Right to Life)

Anne Scanlan, Director of Advocacy at Life Charity, stated: "Just the consideration of this bill seeking to impose abortion on Northern Ireland represents a slap in the face of the people of Northern Ireland. But what we have seen in the vote today is a demonstration of the power this multi- million- pound industry, famous for its "cattle market" culture, has at Westminster. For years the conditions of the Abortion Act have been a bugbear for abortion clinics and they want those business impediments removed. Ms Johnson’s bill prepared with the help of the largest abortion providers in England and Wales, BPAS and Marie Stopes and the abortion rights campaigner Amnesty, wants abortion to be available for any reason which will include gender and disability. Despite public opinion which is horrified at legal late term abortions, it recommends although doctors have a limit of 6 months, women should be able to abort their baby after 6 months if they do it themselves. This bill would enable abusers and groomers to hide their crimes by demanding that victims get an abortion or self abort with no questions asked. In all the major grooming cases abortion has been used as a tool to hide the crimes of abusers. The bill also devalues life when an unborn baby can be terminated at any time and for any reason without question or legal consequences. No society which truly values equality should possess such laws which allow for babies to be terminated because they are girls or because they are disabled. Ms Johnson’s bill is one of the most morally repugnant pieces of legislation to ever come to the House of Commons. It is not in the interest of women, not in the interest of equality and not in the interest of the devolved authority of the people of Northern Ireland.  It should have been rejected and binned.” (As quoted by Life Charity) and- views/diana- johnsons- morally- repugnant- abortion- bill/ release- johnson- abortion- vote/ johnsons- bill- could- return- women- to- the- perils- of- back- street- abortion- days/