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 Clare McCarthy on 078 336 61532 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: 

Press release – Thirteen weeks for people of Northern Ireland to stop extreme abortion regime

18 July 2019 – The people of Northern Ireland have thirteen weeks to stop the introduction of one of the worlds most extreme abortion regimes to the province.

MPs today cast a single vote for a group of amendments to the Northern Ireland Bill which included an abortion amendment from the House of Lords which will introduce abortion on demand, for any reason, up to 28-weeks, if Stormont does not reconvene by 21 October.

Polling shows that the vast majority of people of Northern Ireland do not want abortion imposed on them by Westminster. Over the last few days, 19,000 people from Northern Ireland have signed a letter that was delivered to Theresa May, yesterday, asking her to intervene and stop her Government forcing an extreme abortion law on Northern Ireland.

It is now up to this strong and highly motivated majority in Northern Ireland to build a movement to secure the return of Stormont.

Background:

The group of amendments were passed by 328 to 65. The vote against was lower than the vote on the Creasy amendment last week, this is likely because the group of amendments included a number of other issues.

The amendment voted through had been brought forward by Baroness Barker in the Lords last night as the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill went through Report Stage.

It was clear to all watching the debate in the Lords that rumours that the Barker amendment was drafted with the help of the Government were likely true.

If Stormont does not reconvene, this amendment will bring very substantial change to the law on abortion in Northern Ireland by removing sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against The Person Act from the law, which would introduce abortion on demand, for any reason, up to 28 weeks to Northern Ireland. 

This would leave Northern Ireland with one of the most extreme abortion laws in Europe and they would be far out of line with legislation in the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the UK.

If the change were to go ahead, this would potentially lead to significant numbers coming across the border for abortions from the Republic of Ireland where, post-referendum, abortion is restricted in most cases to 12 weeks gestation. It is also possible that there would be traffic from a number of other countries in Europe as the median gestational time limit for most abortion among EU countries is 12 weeks

Recent polling from ComRes shows that 66% of women and 70% of 18-34-year-olds in Northern Ireland rejected abortion law imposed on Northern Ireland from Westminster.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has considered the issue of abortion much more recently than any other parliament in the United Kingdom. In 2016, a clear majority of the Northern Ireland Assembly, including both Unionists and Nationalists, upheld the law on abortion as it currently stands.

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

“The people of Northern Ireland have thirteen weeks to stop the introduction of one of the worlds most extreme abortion regimes to the province.

“Many thousands of people in Northern Ireland are deeply angered and distressed by this action by the Westminster Parliament. The manner in which MPs from Westminster have attempted to impose abortion on a people that do not want it, and who they do not represent, is grossly disrespectful and unconstitutional. 

“This horrific abortion law can be stopped. It is up to the people of Northern Ireland to ensure that Stormont reconvenes in order to protect the thousands of lives that would otherwise be lost if this extreme abortion law came into effect. 

Over just a couple of days, 19,000 people from Northern Ireland signed a letter that was delivered to Theresa May yesterday, asking her to intervene and not to allow abortion to be forced on Northern Ireland. It is the voices of those 19,000 Northern Irish people who need to be listened to now, by their own politicians, and in their own Government in Northern Ireland.  

It’s those 19,000 people, organisations and wider Northern Irish society that now need to come together as soon as possible to build a movement to ensure that Stormont is reconvened.”

ENDS

Press release: Two-thirds of Tory Councillors do not want abortion laws imposed on Northern Ireland by Westminster

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Two-thirds of Tory Councillors do not want abortion laws imposed on Northern Ireland by Westminster

A poll from ComRes released today has revealed that two-thirds of Tory councillors (67%) support abortion remaining a devolved matter for Northern Ireland and believe that it should be up to politicians in Northern Ireland to decide whether or not to change the law on abortion in Northern Ireland. 

The poll is likely an accurate proxy of voting sentiment among grassroots Conservatives. The results of the poll indicate that there is very little support from Conservative party members to impose abortion on Northern Ireland from Westminster. 

The poll also showed the highest support for respecting devolution on this issue from the devolved regions (Wales and Scotland), with 86% supporting abortion being a devolved matter for politicians in Northern Ireland to decide.

The poll comes as Theresa May’s Government faces a major backlash from across the community in Northern Ireland against the Government’s plan to redraft the abortion clause in the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill to introduce an extreme change to abortion law, likely ushering into Northern Ireland the most extreme abortion law in Europe

This signals the end of the Government’s long-standing policy of neutrality on abortion. It also appears to be a departure from the Government’s position on respecting devolution.

On Wednesday, the Government announced in the House of Lords that it had identified the current abortion clause introduced by Stella Creasy would not introduce abortion on demand to Northern Ireland. In Parliament during the debate around the original amendment however the sponsor of the amendment, Stella Creasy made it very clear that she intended the scope of the amendment to be limited. 

On Friday, it appeared the Government did not share the sponsor of the amendment’s view that the clause should be limited and were drafting their own Government secondary legislation to side-step devolution and impose abortion on demand directly on Northern Ireland.

It is possible that there would be a far higher percentage of Tory Councillors against this move if they were asked whether they would support the Conservative Government scrapping it’s neutral position on abortion and introducing Government secondary legislation to directly introduce abortion on demand to Northern Ireland without any involvement from the people of Northern Ireland. 

The Government’s decision could also pose further issues for the incoming Prime Minister who will have to deal with a deeply unpopular change in policy initiated by Theresa May’s Government.

On Monday, Northern Irish peers will bring forward a number of amendments at Committee Stage of the Northern Ireland Bill in the House of Lords designed to block attempts to change abortion law in Northern Ireland from Westminster. 

These include a motion from Northern Ireland peer Lord Morrow calling for the abortion clause to be removed from the Bill and an amendment from Baroness O’Loan requiring that the community in Northern Ireland be consulted, and a majority of MLAs must approve any legislation before it is laid before Parliament in Westminster.

The polling also reflects sentiment among the public in Northern Ireland with previous polling showing that a strong majority of women (66%) reject interference from Westminster on this sensitive issue, agreeing that this was a decision for Northern Ireland. The strongest support among age groups surveyed came from the youngest age group, 18-34 year olds, with 70% agreeing that they did not want abortion law imposed on Northern Ireland from Westminster.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has considered the issue of abortion much more recently than any parliaments in the United Kingdom. In 2016, a clear majority of the Northern Ireland Assembly, including both Unionists and Nationalists, upheld the law on abortion as it currently stands.

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

“The new polling clearly shows that the Government scrapping their long-held position of neutrality on abortion and drafting secondary legislation to impose abortion on Northern Ireland will be very unpopular among the Conservative Party membership. This shows that there is very strong support for respecting devolution and that any changes in Northern Ireland’s abortion laws should be made in Northern Ireland, not imposed by Westminster. 

“Moreover, this polling echoes previous polling of Northern Irish people, with two-thirds of women rejecting interference from Westminster, believing that this is a decision for Northern Ireland.

“It is a reminder to the Government in Westminster that abortion remains a devolved issue in Northern Ireland. They have no mandate from the people of Northern Ireland to make any changes to Northern Ireland’s laws on abortion and all laws and policy regarding that issue should be decided by the people of Northern Ireland through their elected representatives.”

ENDS