Where does the new Lib Dem leader stand on abortion?

22 July 2019: At 5:30pm this evening it was announced that Jo Swinson was elected as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.

She won 47,997 votes, against a vote of 28,021 for Ed Davey.

Jo Swinson has a track-record of voting pro-abortion apart from where she has abstained and a single vote in 2011 where she voted in support of independent counselling for women seeking an abortion.

On 9 July 2019 she voted in favour of imposing abortion on Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill returned from the House of Lords with an even more radical abortion amendment. This amendment intends to make abortion legal until the 28th week of pregnancy. Swinson voted in favour of imposing this abortion regime on Northern Ireland.

As a result of the final amendment being passed, if the Northern Irish assembly does not return by the 21st October, abortion on demand, for any reason, up to 28 weeks will be introduced to Northern Ireland.

The proposed changes regarding independent counselling would have stopped private abortion providers from providing abortion counselling. The service would have been instead outsourced to a third party which did not have a vested financial or ideological interest in providing abortions.

Polling shows that there is very strong demand from the public for a range of changes to abortion laws in England, Wales and Scotland that would introduce new safeguards and restrictions to increase protections for the unborn child and support for women in crisis pregnancies.

At the same time, abortion campaigners have made it clear that they want to remove almost all legal safeguards around abortion.

Green squares represent the MP casting a pro-life vote, red represents a pro-abortion vote, yellow is an abstention and grey indicates that the MP was not in office at the time of the vote.

  1. Introduce abortion on demand, for any reason, up-to 28 weeks in Northern Ireland. – 09/07/2019
  2. Attempt to introduce abortion on demand, for any reason, up-to 28 weeks to Northern Ireland. 10/07/2019
  3. Amendment to put pressure on the Government to change abortion legislation in Northern Ireland – 24/10/2018.
  4. Introduce abortion on demand, for any reason, up-to 24-weeks in Northern Ireland. Remove many of the current legal safeguards around abortion provision in England and Wales – 23/10/2018.
  5. Introduce abortion on demand, for any reason, up-to-birth (‘Decriminalisation’) – 13/03/2017.
  6. Explicit ban on sex-selective abortion – 23/02/2015.
  7. Independent abortion counselling – 07/09/2011.
  8. Better information and counselling for parents facing a disability diagnosis in pregnancy – 20/05/2008.
  9. Reduce abortion limit to 12 weeks – 20/05/2008.
  10. Reduce abortion limit to 16 weeks – 20/05/2008.
  11. Reduce abortion limit to 20 weeks – 20/05/2008.
  12. Reduce abortion limit to 22 weeks – 20/05/2008.
  13. Counselling and 7-day cooling off period – 05/06/2007.
  14. Parental notification for girls 15 and under seeking an abortion – 14/03/2007.

Sir Ed Davey

Jo Swinson

Press Release: Overwhelming majority of public reject radical changes to abortions laws in England and Wales

22 July Polling from two separate ComRes polls reveals that proposals from abortion lobby groups for extreme changes to the abortion law in England and Wales are out of line with public opinion with the majority of people wanting more, not less, safeguards around abortion. 

Pro-abortion lobby groups are currently campaigning to remove almost all of the current legal safeguards around abortion provision in England and Wales.

However, polling shows that 72% of the public agree that the practice of abortion should be governed by the law and 67% agree that criminal law plays an essential role in protecting patients against medical malpractice.

Proposed changes to the abortion law by the abortion lobby would seek to remove abortion from the supervision of doctors. This is strongly opposed by the public with polling showing that 85% agree that patients who are at serious risk of heavy bleeding due to a medical procedure or powerful drug should have medical supervision, in person, from a doctor. 

Furthermore, medical studies have shown that taking abortion pills to procure a medical abortion comes with specific safety issues and higher complication rates than surgical abortions. A Finnish study found the incidence of complications after medical abortion was four times higher than surgical – 20% compared to 5.6%. Government figures for England and Wales show complications involving hospitalisation are more than twice as likely after medical abortions when compared to surgical abortions, 206 per 1,000 abortions for medical compared to 88 for surgical. 

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Clare McCarthy said:

“The abortion lobby’s proposals are wildly out of step with public opinion on this issue with polling actually showing support for more restrictions on the current abortion law in England and Wales, not less. In fact, 70% of women polled believe that the current 24-week gestational limit for abortion should be reduced. In Britain, in most cases abortions can be performed until 24 weeks, far beyond the EU median of 12 weeks.

“If the abortion lobby’s proposals were to become law, it would bring about one of the world’s most extreme abortion laws in the UK. Such a radical change in the law is being pushed by small minority of pro-abortion lobby groups but is unwanted by the rest of the UK. 

ENDS

Press Release: FOI reveals BBC grossly exaggerated number of women directly ordering abortion pills from overseas websites

23 July – Data released today as a result of a Freedom Of Information request shows that the BBC grossly exaggerated the actual numbers of women in the UK who have ordered illegal abortion pills online from overseas.

The data obtained from a Freedom of Information Request to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency showed that between 2013 and 2016 only 6 parcels containing abortion pills were seized at the border.

BBC coverage disclosed the total number of abortion pills that have been seized each year since 2013, but did not disclose that only one or two parcels of abortion pills had actually been seized each year.

The BBC coverage implied that large numbers of individual women were directly ordering abortion pills from websites overseas, implying that there had been an increased demand from individual women for illegal abortion pills.

The Freedom of Information request released today shows that instead a couple of individuals had ordered parcels containing abortion pills.

The data has been released as abortion campaigners seek to use alleged demand from women for illegal online abortion pills as a rationale for introducing a new radical abortion law to England and Wales.

Operation Pangea seizures of abortion pills


2013201420152016
Number of abortion pills seized:5180270375
Actual number of parcels (not reported by BBC):1122

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Clare McCarthy said:

“It is very disappointing that the BBC have misled the public around this. They appear to have mislead the public by omitting the vital point in their reporting that only one or two parcels a year had actually been seized, rather than hundreds. 

Anyone who read the original coverage on this would have been lead to believe that 100s of individual women were ordering abortion pills online from overseas providers. The data released today shows that this likely not the case at all.

In fact, only a very small number of parcels had been imported by either a couple of individuals or possibly by abortion campaigners to make it appear that there was a very high demand from individual women. The BBC have selectively reported this misleading figure, leading the public to believe there was much higher demand from individual women for abortion pills from online overseas providers than is likely actually the case.

We are calling on the BBC to correct all the coverage they have given this issue and publicly commit to balanced reporting on this issue in the future.”

ENDS

  • For additional quotes and media interviews contact 07847 454108 or email press@righttolife.org.uk 
  • For further information on Right To Life visit www.righttolife.org.uk
  • The table provided as a result of the Freedom of Information request is included below: 

BBC grossly exaggerated number of women directly ordering abortion pills from overseas providers FOI reveals

Data released today (22/07) as a result of a Freedom Of Information request by Right To Life UK, shows that the BBC grossly exaggerated the actual number of women in the UK who have ordered illegal abortion pills online from overseas.

BBC coverage from 2017 implied that increasingly large numbers of individual women were directly ordering abortion pills from website overseas. This in turn suggested that there had been an increased demand from individual women for illegal abortion pills over a number of years.

However, the BBC’s presentation of the facts was extremely misleading. They disclosed the total number of abortion pills that have been seized each year since 2013, but failed to disclose that only one or two parcels of abortion pills had actually been seized each year.

So, instead of the hundreds of individuals apparently illegally ordering abortion pills online, the Freedom of Information request showed only a handful of individuals had ordered parcels containing abortion pills.

The data has been released as abortion campaigners seek to use alleged demand from women for illegal online abortion pills as a rationale for introducing a new radical abortion law to England and Wales.

In fact, the data obtained from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency showed that between 2013 and 2016 only 6 parcels containing abortion pills were seized at the border.

Operation Pangea seizures of abortion pills


2013201420152016
Number of abortion pills seized:5180270375
Actual number of parcels (not reported by BBC):1122

A spokesperson for Right To Life, Clare McCarthy said:

It is very disappointing that the BBC have mislead the public around this. They appear to have mislead the public by omitting the vital point in their reporting that only one or two parcels a year had actually been seized, rather than hundreds.

Anyone who read the original coverage on this would have been lead to believe that 100s of individual women were ordering abortion pills online from overseas providers. The data released today shows that this likely not the case at all.

In fact, only a very small number of parcels had been imported by either a couple of individuals or possibly by abortion campaigners to make it appear that there was a very high demand from individual women. The BBC have selectively reported this misleading figure, leading the public to believe there was much higher demand from individual women for abortion pills from online overseas providers than is likely actually the case.
We are calling on the BBC to correct all the coverage they have given this issue and publicly commit to balanced reporting on this issue in the future.