Press release – Pro-life victory as major attempt to hijack Domestic Abuse Bill with extreme abortion amendments fails

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Pro-life victory as major attempt to hijack Domestic Abuse Bill with extreme abortion amendments fails


An attempt to hijack the UK Government’s flagship Domestic Abuse Bill with two extreme abortion proposals has failed, in a major pro-life victory. 

The Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, announced this afternoon that amendment New Clause 29, which would have introduced abortion for any reason up to 28 weeks, would not be selected for debate.

Diana Johnson MP then, this evening, announced that she would be withdrawing amendment New Clause 28 which would have allowed both medical and surgical abortions to take place in any location if a woman is in an abusive relationship.

If Diana Johnson had pushed the amendment to a vote and lost, this would have been the first time that a pro-abortion amendment or Bill had been defeated in a vote in UK history. 

It appears that the abortion lobby realised that it was very likely that Diana Johnson’s amendment was going to be defeated and encouraged the Labour MP to instead withdraw the amendment. 

Pro-life MP Fiona Bruce MP put forward an amendment calling for a review of the current temporary measures allowing ‘DIY’ abortions. This called for the Government to conduct an “an inquiry into the safety, number, and impact of abortions carried out under the temporary coronavirus crisis provisions where the place of abortion was the woman’s home”.

The Government subsequently agreed to a full inquiry into the temporary ‘DIY’ abortion measures.

A large number of MPs in the debate this evening spoke out against these attempts to hijack the Domestic Abuse Bill with extreme abortion amendments. This included stirring speeches from Fiona Bruce MP and Carla Lockhart MP, along with a number of MPs who don’t agree with the pro-life position on abortion but made it clear that the amendment was poorly drafted and would have had serious negative consequences for women in domestic abuse scenarios.

Amendment New Clause 28 would have allowed both medical and surgical abortions to take place in any location if a woman is in an abusive relationship. This amendment went far beyond the temporary measures that allow ‘DIY’ home telemedicine abortions, by making both medical and surgical abortions legal outside of a hospital or place approved by the Secretary of State. Current temporary measures allowing the home use of abortion pills are limited to 9 weeks and 6 days’ gestation for safety reasons. There was no similar time limit outlined in this amendment.

Amendment New Clause 29 would have made extreme changes to abortion legislation by repealing sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act. This would have left England and Wales with no abortion law through to 28 weeks. Almost all current legal safeguards on abortion would have been removed, up until when a child is capable of being born alive, with a ceiling of 28 weeks. This would have introduced abortion on demand, for any reason (including sex-selective abortion) up to 28 weeks. The change would have been the most extreme change to abortion legislation since 1967 and would have left England and Wales with one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world. 

The failed proposals were radically out of step with the opinions of women on abortion. Polling from Savanta ComRes on whether time limits for abortion should be increased shows that only 1% of women wanted the time limit to be extended; in contrast, 70% of women favour a reduction in time limits. The polling also showed that 77% of women agree that doctors should be required to verify in person that a patient seeking an abortion is not under pressure from a third party to undergo the abortion, and 91% of women agree that gender-selective abortion should be explicitly banned by the law.

Spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“This is a major victory for the unborn child and women facing unplanned pregnancies. These amendments would have left the unborn child with considerably worse protections and removed many of the current safeguards which protect women facing unplanned pregnancies.

“Thank you to the thousands of people that rallied over the last week to get friends and family to email their MPs. MPs received more emails ahead of this vote than they have ever received ahead of an abortion vote.

“Thank you to the amazing group of pro-life MPs in Parliament who have worked so hard to ensure that these extreme amendments were defeated. 

“Thank you to the large number of organisations that have all come together to encourage their supporters to contact MPs and ensure this major attempt to introduce extreme abortion changes was defeated.

ENDS

  • For additional quotes and media interviews contact email press@righttolife.org.uk 
  • For further information on Right To Life UK visit www.righttolife.org.uk
  • SavantaComRes interviewed 2,008 British adults online between 12th and 14th May 2017. Data was weighted to be representative of all GB adults. SavantaComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
  • For further information on the extensive changes that NC29 would have introduced, please see this briefing: https://bit.ly/amendment-briefing-july

Press release – Campaigners relieved abortion censorship zone motion very unlikely to become law

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Campaigners relieved abortion censorship zone motion very unlikely to become law

Campaigners are relieved that a radical abortion clinic censorship zone motion brought forward by Dr Rupa Huq, that passed by 213 to 47 votes, is very unlikely to become law.

The motion seeks to introduce censorship zones around abortion clinics in England and Wales. However, as it is a Ten Minute Rule Motion it is very unlikely it will be given further time by the Government to be debated in Parliament. It is even less likely that it will become law.

Censorship zones would effectively ban volunteers from offering practical and emotional support to women entering abortion clinics across England and Wales. They would also ban individuals from peacefully praying in the vicinity of clinics.

In 2017, former Home Secretary Amber Rudd launched a review into the scale and nature of pro-life vigils outside abortion clinics to establish if the Government would recommend the introduction of censorship zones. In the investigation continued by the succeeding Home Secretary Sajid Javid, over 2,500 responded to a call for evidence, including abortion service providers, abortion service clients, those engaging in anti-abortion demonstrations, police forces and local authorities.

In 2018, Sajid Javid announced that the Home Office did not find adequate reason to introduce censorship zones, stating that: “…introducing national buffer zones would not be a proportionate response, considering the experiences of the majority of hospitals and clinics, and considering that the majority of activities are more passive in nature. In making my decision, I am also aware that legislation already exists to restrict protest activities that cause harm to others.”

Opposition to censorship zones goes beyond pro-life advocates to a large part of society, which may not agree on the pro-life position on abortion, but oppose censorship zones because they infringe on free speech.

A number of prominent human rights groups and campaigners, all of whom support abortion, have also spoken out against the introduction of censorship zones. This includes Peter Tatchell, the Manifesto Club, Big Brother Watch, Index on Censorship and the Freedom Association.

The Be Here for Me website highlights just some of the many stories of women who have been helped by people outside abortion clinics, and the stories of future women who could miss out on such support in the future. 

One mother who who kept her daughter as a result of the pro-life support she received outside an abortion clinic, in Ealing, will soon challenge the use of ‘criminalised free speech zones’ at the European Court of Human Rights.

Alina Dulgheriu launched the legal challenge because she wants other potential mothers to receive the same practical and emotional support she was offered – support which led to her keeping her daughter, Sarah.

Spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“As this vote was on a Ten Minute Rule Motion, it is very unlikely it will be given further time by the Government to be debated in Parliament. It is even less likely that it will become law.

“By attempting to restrict where women facing unplanned pregnancies can receive compassionate emotional and practical support, the ‘pro-choice’ lobby are removing real choice for women and revealing they’re really just pro-abortion.

“Today, many babies are alive because their mothers were able to get the help they needed outside of an abortion clinic.

“We would, therefore, encourage the Government not to give this Bill any more time.  In doing so they would send a clear signal that women should not be denied the choice of life-saving support for them and their baby.”

ENDS

Press release – MPs approve UK Government’s extreme abortion regime

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MPs approve UK Government’s extreme abortion regime for NI

MPs have voted 253 to 136 in favour of a motion approving the UK Government’s extreme abortion regime in Northern Ireland.

While today’s vote in the House of Commons is a defeat for pro-life campaigners and the people of Northern Ireland, the vote indicates that there has been a large decrease in the number of pro-abortion MPs and an increase in the number of pro-life MPs in the House of Commons since the 2019 election.

Before the new intake of MPs, a vote to impose abortion on Northern Ireland in July 2019 was passed by 332 to 99.

There has been widespread opposition to the new regulations, particularly from the people of Northern Ireland, Northern Irish MPs and Northern Irish MLAs. 

Earlier this month, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed a motion opposing the regulations which have been imposed on the province by the UK Government. Across the two votes held, 75 of 90 MLAs voted against the provisions in the regulations allowing abortion for non-fatal disabilities. 79% of respondents to the Government consultation on the regulations were opposed to any abortion provision in Northern Ireland beyond what was previously permitted. 

An open letter signed by over 18,000 people from Northern Ireland was delivered to the Prime Minister on Tuesday by disability campaigner Heidi Crowther who has Down’s syndrome. The letter called on MPs to oppose the regulations and let the Northern Ireland Assembly decide on abortion law for Northern Ireland.

Under the new regime, disability-selective abortion will be available up to the point of birth for all disabilities, including cleft lip, cleft palate, club foot and Down’s syndrome. The regulations also introduce de-facto abortion on demand through to 24-weeks and allow sex-selective abortion through 12-weeks.

Spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“Today is an incredibly tragic day for Northern Ireland, for the unborn child and everyone who supports the right to life.

“Despite the efforts of tens of thousands of Northern Irish people, MLAs, Northern Irish MPs and pro-life campaigners, like Heidi Crowter, the UK Government’s extreme abortion legislation continues to be in place as a result of today’s vote.

“And while we may not have been able to get the result we wanted today, the campaigning of tens of thousands of people has helped get a larger group of MPs taking a pro-life position on these regulations than the last similar vote.

“However, this is by no means the end.

“The battle on these regulations now moves to Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Assembly. MLAs must now urgently bring forward to repeal these extreme abortion regulations. 

ENDS

Press release – Abortion numbers highest ever, latest statistics show

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Abortion numbers highest ever, latest statistics show

11 June 2020 – Abortion statistics released by the Department for Health and Social Care this morning show the highest number of abortions ever recorded, with 209,519 abortions happening in England and Wales in 2019.

The figures show that: 

  • In England and Wales, there was a total of 209,519 abortions in 2019, an increase of 3.4% abortions from 2018 when there were 205,295 abortions.
    • 207,384 of these abortions were for residents of England and Wales, an increase of 6,776.
  • The statistics for 2019 also show a rise in repeat abortions from 78,988 in 2018 up to 83,624 in 2019.
    • This represents 4,626 more repeat abortions than in 2018.
    • This is a 5.9% increase from 2018 when there were 78,988.
  • 126 ‘selective termination’ procedures were performed, where a twin, triplet or more were aborted in the womb.
  • There were 3,183 disability-selective abortions in 2019
    • This represents a 53% increase compared to 2009 when there were 2,085.
    • 656 babies with Down’s syndrome were aborted in 2019.
  • There were 17 abortions where the baby had cleft lip or cleft palate.
    • A cross-party group of MPs have come together to bring forward the Abortion (Cleft lip, cleft palate and club foot protection) Bill which received a First Reading on 3 June 2020.
    • The Bill would change the law to clarify that cleft palate, cleft lip, cleft palate and lip, and club foot are not grounds for abortion in the UK. This would mean that abortions could not occur when the primary diagnosed condition is cleft palate, cleft lip, cleft palate and lip, and club foot. 
    • Sadly, the figures for cleft lip and palate are likely to be higher, for example a 2013 review by Eurocat showed 157 babies were aborted with cleft lip and palate in England and Wales between 2006 and 2010. However, the Department of Health & Social Care (DoHSC) recorded only 14 such abortions.
  • The Department of Health also reported that the number of abortions funded by the NHS performed by private abortion providers reached a record high of 153,601. This represents 74% of abortions, up from 72% in 2018. It also represents a 255% increase since 1999 when there 43,266 performed by private providers. 
    • This increase in abortions comes as private abortion providers have been accused of persuading women to have abortions. A report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) accused Marie Stopes International of paying staff bonuses for encouraging women to undergo terminations.
    • More recently, it has been revealed the CQC rates over 60% of abortion clinics as “inadequate” or “requires improvement” on safety grounds. Despite this, it seems abortion clinics haven’t been inspected since the coronavirus lockdown began over three months ago.
    • Additionally, it has been revealed CQC inspectors found six cases of women who “required urgent medical attention due to complications and were transferred from the service to another healthcare provider between January and December 2018.” Five of these cases were reported as serious incidents requiring further investigation.

In response to cleft lip and palate abortion figures, spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“These statistics show that abortion are continuing to happen for correctable conditions such as cleft lip and palate. This shows the urgent need for a law change to clarify that cleft palate, cleft lip, cleft palate and lip, and club foot are not grounds for abortion in the UK

“People are shocked and horrified when they discover that abortion is permitted up to birth after the diagnosis of cleft lip, cleft palate, and clubfoot as the primary condition, believing it goes against the very fabric of what our country stands for today.  

“As a society, we should be empowering those with disabilities, and take great pride in the positive contribution they make to our country. To do this, we have a moral obligation to quash anything that perpetuates false and negative stereotypes towards those with a disability, and that is why we support the group of cross-party MPs who have brought forward this important Bill to help end disability-discrimination in the womb. 

“Our abortion legislation is badly in need of reform to end this unjust discrimination, and we hope this Bill is successful in helping end this disability-discrimination.”

In response to the general figures, spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“It is a national tragedy that 209,519 lives were lost to abortion in 2019. This is the highest number of abortions ever in England and Wales. Every one of these abortions represents a failure of our society to protect the lives of babies in the womb and a failure to offer full support to women with unplanned pregnancies. 

“Polling shows large majorities of women in the UK support changes to our abortion laws that would have a positive impact on lowering the number of abortions. 70% of women want the current time limit on abortion to be lowered and 91% of women want a ban on sex-selective abortion.

“Proposals from abortion campaigners to remove legal restrictions around abortion and introduce abortion right to birth would likely see these numbers get even worse.

“We are calling on the Government to urgently bring forward sensible new restrictions and increased support for women with unplanned pregnancies. This would ensure we were working together as a society to reduce the tragic number of abortions that happen each year.

“This increase in abortions comes as private abortion clinics have been accused by the Care Quality Commission of paying staff bonuses for persuading women to undergo abortions. 

“Vulnerable women should not be seen as a revenue opportunity but sadly we know this is not the reality as abortion itself is a multi-million-pound industry. Private abortion clinics have a vested monetary interest in increasing the numbers of abortions they perform every year.”

ENDS