Press Release: Commentary Against Appointment of Maria Caulfield MP as Conservative Vice-Chair for Women Misses Reality of Women’s Views on Abortion

Today, the Prime Minister appointed Maria Caulfield MP (Lewes) as Conservative Party Vice-Chair with Responsibility for Women. Caulfield is a superb MP, and her excellent appointment was greeted very warmly by many commentators.

Members of the abortion lobby and their allies in politics and in the media attacked the decision online, on the basis that Caulfield had led opposition to their key legislative aim: so-called ‘decriminalisation’.

Falsely presented as merely removing criminal penalties for women who buy abortion pills online, decriminalisation really means taking abortion out of the law. This would mean removing all legal limitations on abortion outside of medical regulation, leading to a situation of abortion on demand, for any reason, and (depending on whether criminal penalties were partly or completely repealed) either up to 28 weeks or up to birth.

As it happens, both the removal of abortion from the law and the extension of abortion above the current limit of 24 weeks are extreme minority positions, especially amongst women.

ComRes found in polling last October that 70% of women believe that abortion should be governed by a legal framework, and in May last year they found that only 1% of women favour increasing the upper limit beyond 24 weeks (and another 1% who favour abortion up to birth). By contrast, the same May Poll found that 70% of women want the upper abortion limit lowered, with 59% favouring it to be lowered to at least 16 weeks.

Moreover, removing abortion from the criminal law would also legalise abortion for any reason whatsoever, including sex-selective abortion. The May poll taken above confirmed that 92% of women supported sex-selective abortion being explicitly illegal in law.

Not only would decriminalising abortion mean abortion on demand, for any reason, either up to 28 weeks or birth – an extreme minority position, contrary to the opinion of the vast majority of women – it would remove important protections for pregnant women. Section 58 of the Offences Against The Person Act 1861, and the Infant Life (Preservation) Act 1929, both of which criminalise self-abortion, also criminalise men who try to force women to have abortions by causing their miscarriage. Removing either statute would remove important protections.

Meanwhile, women have only been prosecuted in the last few decades in Britain for self-aborting in extreme, callous, and late cases. In R v Catt (2009), a woman called Sarah Catt was prosecuted for aborting her baby at 40 weeks, just before the baby could be born. In R v Towers (2015), a woman was prosecuted for causing her baby to be smothered to death at 32 weeks, when she took prostaglandins that caused her have heavy contractions. There has not been a single prosecution in England and Wales or Scotland before 24 weeks.

In opposing decriminalisation, Maria Caulfield not only represented the views of the majority of British women, but stood for better protections and safety for pregnant mothers and unborn children. Contrary to abortion lobby claims, this makes her an excellent choice for Conservative Vice-Chair, especially with responsibility for women.

RTL Executive Officer Peter D. Williams said:

Maria Caulfield is a great MP, and an excellent choice to be a Vice-Chair of the Conservative Party. Her views and actions in the House of Commons on abortion represent the view of the moderate majority of women, contrary to the inhumane extremism of BPAS and the rest of the abortion lobby.

The Prime Minister is to be congratulated for this superb appointment, and we hope more appointments in areas such as this involve Parliamentarians who represent the humane instincts of most Britons, especially most British women”.

END

Diana Johnson MP’s Abortion Bill Passes to Second Reading: How MPs Voted

Today, Diana Johnson MP received Commons approval for her abortion Bill to progress to Second Reading, by 172-142 votes. The Bill would introduce abortion on demand, for any reason (including sex-selection), up to 28 weeks of pregnancy.

NB: Members of the Scottish National Party (SNP) were absent due to this being a Bill that is only intended to affect England and Wales (abortion law has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament).

Here is how MPs voted:

Noes (142):

Conservatives (123)

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Amess, Sir David

Ansell, Caroline

Bacon, Mr Richard

Bellingham, Sir Henry

Benyon, Richard

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Borwick, Victoria

Brazier, Sir Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Bruce, Fiona

Burns, Conor

Burns, Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Costa, Alberto

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Philip

Donelan, Michelle

Dorries, Nadine

Double, Steve

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duncan Smith, Mr Iain

Elphicke, Charlie

Evans, Mr Nigel

Fallon, Sir Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, Mark

Foster, Kevin

Fox, Dr Liam

Francois, Mr Mark

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Glen, John

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Graham, Richard

Gray, James

Grayling, Chris

Green, Chris

Green, Damian

Halfon, Robert

Hall, Luke

Hands, Greg

Hayes, Mr John

Henderson, Gordon

Hoare, Simon

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Huddleston, Nigel

Jackson, Mr Stewart

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Johnson, Dr Caroline

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kennedy, Seema

Knight, Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Sir Edward

Letwin, Sir Oliver

Lewis, Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lord, Jonathan

Mackintosh, David

Main, Mrs Anne

Mann, Scott

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Morton, Wendy

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Offord, Dr Matthew

Paterson, Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, Mike

Percy, Andrew

Pickles, Sir Eric

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Redwood, John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Selous, Andrew

Smith, Henry

Soames, Sir Nicholas

Spelman, Dame Caroline

Streeter, Mr Gary

Swayne, Sir Desmond

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Turner, Mr Andrew

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Wallace, Mr Ben

Warburton, David

White, Chris

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wragg, William

Democratic Unionist Party (8)

Campbell, Gregory

Dodds, Nigel

Donaldson, Jeffrey

Paisley, Ian

Robinson, Gavin

Shannon, Jim

Simpson, David

Wilson, Sammy

Labour (6)

Cooper, Rosie

Flello, Robert

Glindon, Mary

Jones, Helen

Kane, Mike

Maskell, Rachael

SDLP (3)

Durkan, Mark

Ritchie, Margaret

Liberal Democrats (1)

Pugh, Dr. John

Ulster Unionist Party (1)

Kinahan, Danny

Independent (1)

Hermon, Lady Sylvia

Ayes (172):

Labour (146):

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Allin-Khan, Dr Rosena

Anderson, Mr David

Ashworth, Jonathan

Barron, Sir Kevin

Beckett, Margaret

Benn, Hilary

Blackman-Woods, Dr Roberta

Blomfield, Paul

Brabin, Tracy

Bradshaw, Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brown, Mr Nicholas

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Butler, Dawn

Cadbury, Ruth

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Champion, Sarah

Clwyd, Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Julie

Cooper, Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Coyle, Neil

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Dakin, Nic

David, Wayne

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Debbonaire, Thangam

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Dowd, Peter

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Elmore, Chris

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Foxcroft, Vicky

Furniss, Gill

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Haigh, Louise

Hamilton, Fabian

Harman, Ms Harriet

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Hayman, Sue

Healey, John

Hopkins, Kelvin

Huq, Dr Rupa

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Graham

Jones, Mr Kevan

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kinnock, Stephen

Kyle, Peter

Lavery, Ian

Lewis, Clive

Lynch, Holly

Mactaggart, Fiona

Madders, Justin

Mann, John

Matheson, Christian

McCabe, Steve

McCarthy, Kerry

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonnell, John

McGovern, Alison

McInnes, Liz

Miliband, Edward

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Onn, Melanie

Onwurah, Chi

Osamor, Kate

Pennycook, Matthew

Phillips, Jess

Phillipson, Bridget

Powell, Lucy

Rayner, Angela

Reed, Mr Steve

Reynolds, Emma

Rotheram, Steve

Ryan, Joan

Shah, Naz

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sherriff, Paula

Shuker, Mr Gavin

Siddiq, Tulip

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Andy

Smeeth, Ruth

Smith, Angela

Smith, Cat

Smith, Jeff

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smyth, Karin

Snell, Gareth

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Tami, Mark

Trickett, Jon

Turley, Anna

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, Valerie

West, Catherine

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, Dame Rosie

Woodcock, John

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Conservatives (17):

Atkins, Victoria

Blunt, Crispin

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Duddridge, James

Fabricant, Michael

Howell, John

Jenrick, Robert

Lilley, Mr Peter

McCartney, Jason

Mills, Nigel

Mitchell, Mr Andrew

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Shapps, Grant

Shelbrooke, Alec

Soubry, Anna

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Liberal Democrats (4):

Brake, Tom

Clegg, Mr Nick

Lamb, Norman

Olney, Sarah

Plaid Cymru (3):

Edwards, Jonathan

Saville Roberts, Liz

Williams, Hywel

Greens (1):

Lucas, Caroline

Independent (1)

Danczuk, Simon

Nursing student born at 23-weeks bravely speaks out against abortion up-to-birth proposal

Sophie Powell abortion to birth

Twenty year old nursing student second-year, Sophie Proud, who was born at 23 weeks, bravely spoke out at the UK Royal College of Nursing Congress today in a debate on the ‘merits’ of introducing abortion up-to-birth.

“I would like to draw your attention to a specialist field within children’s nursing: neonatology. One sentence within the Act says that abortion can take place up until the 24th week of pregnancy. I was born at 23 weeks, 20 years ago, and I believe that this should be looked at. I realise that without extensive medical intervention, I would not be standing here today. The viability of a foetus needs to be considered as I am living proof that there is a potential for a baby to survive before 24 weeks. The survival rates are higher now than they were 20 years ago thanks to medical advances.”

Sophie Proud, who was born at 23 weeks in 1996, was one of the youngest premature babies ever to survive at the time when she was born in April 1996 weighing just 1lb 9oz – around the same as a bag of sugar. Her twin died at birth.

Whilst there is a 24 week time limit on Ground C and D abortions (which are invoked largely for social reasons), there is no time limit for abortions in England, Wales and Scotland if the baby is thought to have a disability.

The debate at the RCN congress centred around the ‘decriminalistion’ of abortion, which would allow abortions to take place up until the moment of birth, for any reason whatsoever.

Sophie articulately demonstrates that scientific advances in recent years have made a mockery of the 24-week limit in the UK.

Her speech also reflects broader public opinion. A 2012 Angus Reid poll found only 2% of women wanted the time limit extended beyond 24 weeks, in contrast with 59% of women who favoured a reduction in time limits.

It also follows the widespread public outcry earlier this year after the president of the Royal College of Midwives, Cathy Warwick, (who is also the chair of UK abortion provider BPAS) signed-up the membership of the RCM to a campaign supporting abortion up-to-birth for any reason.

Abortion, For Any Reason, Up To Birth – The Abortion Lobby’s Ultimate Sub-Humanist Campaign

by Peter D. Williams

This morning, a campaign was launched to promote the most extreme proposals ever officially advocated by the abortion lobby: abortion up to birth, and for any reason. Headed by BPAS, the leading organisation of the UK abortion industry, the campaign also includes eight abortion lobby groups (interestingly, this number does not include Abortion Rights UK) who together comprise just less than half of all the campaign.

The radical platform the campaign prescribes is unsurprising in its content, if nonetheless astonishing in its extremity, when you know how BPAS under the leadership of Ann Furedi has consistently advocated for the removal of all restrictions on the practice of abortion. Furedi is one of the most intellectually open and honest of all abortion lobbyists, and unlike the majority of people on either side of the abortion debate, she is strikingly (if hideously) consistent in her view that abortion should be available for any reason at any stage of gestation. In her view, the autonomy of the mother outweighs any intrinsic rights or value her unborn child may have.

This ideological commitment entails that she, and the abortion lobby, do not just want to amend current UK laws on abortion, they want to do away with them altogether. For many, such a proposal will come as a surprise, not merely because of its radicalism, but because it identifies something that is less well known than perhaps it should be: Abortion is a crime under UK law.

Under sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against The Person Act 1861, abortion is what used to be called a ‘felony’. Moreover, all abortions after 28 weeks are prohibited under the crime of ‘Child Destruction’ due to the Infant Life Preservation Act 1929. Some abortions are de iure permissible due to legal precedents set in court cases, and due to the Abortion Act 1967, which gave exemptions from prosecution under the 1861 Act for performing abortions for a few ostensibly very narrow reasons, as long as two doctors affirmed in ‘good faith’ that the conditions of the Act were met. (These exemptions were extended to the 1929 Act, and an upper limit for most abortions set at 24 weeks, in 1990.) The abuse of this Act has led to a de facto situation of abortion on demand, but the letter of the law means that abortion is indeed, as a legal norm, still banned.

The consequence of this is that some people are still prosecuted to this day for performing late abortions outside of a medical context. I wrote in December about two such recent cases: Kevin Wilson was found guilty of ‘Child Destruction’ for having assaulted his ex-girlfriend (whom he had tried to pressure into an ‪abortion) by stamping on her stomach, causing his unborn child (then at 32 weeks) to be stillborn. Natalie Towers, a woman in County Durham, was convicted of the same crime after taking contraction-inducing drugs whilst heavily pregnant in order to miscarry her unborn son, who, posthumously called ‘Luke’ by the medical staff, was also at 32-34 weeks and consequently died of oxygen starvation.

For the abortion lobby, the prosecution of the Towers case was an outrage, and they have decried UK abortion law as an unacceptable ‘patriarchal’ limitation on the personal autonomy of women, a ‘Victorian’ relic of a time before women even had the vote. (This language is employed regardless of Towers being prosecuted under a law passed in the 20s, after female suffrage was secured.) Unsurprisingly for a campaign ‘conceived’ and so dominated by them, the arguments for it are similar typical pro-abortion tropes.

It’s been given the title and hashtag ‘We Trust Women’, as if laws restricting abortion were about questioning the decision-making powers of individual women, rather than providing at least some protections for unborn children. It gratuitously asserts that restricting abortion denies women ‘fundamental rights’, even though there is not and never has been a right to abortion. It argues from a radical view of bodily autonomy, claiming that it is a legal principle that “a person’s body is their own”. This despite the fact that we are actually legally limited in what we can do even with our own body – we may not, for example, contract a doctor to remove one of our healthy limbs just because we want them to – let alone the body of another, such as that of our unborn child.

Consequently, Furedi, BPAS, and the wider campaign they are leading wants to see the total ‘decriminalisation’ of abortion. They point to the Australian state of Victoria as a precedent, where abortion lobbyists succeeded in passing profoundly permissive abortion laws in 2008. The UK campaign’s plans, however, go far beyond even what abortion lobbyists succeeded in gaining Down Under. Though the Victorian law allows for abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy, it is only on demand up to 24 weeks. For abortions to be performed further than that, certain physical, psychological and social grounds have to be approved by two doctors, though this can be the operating surgeon and anaesthetist. The UK campaign would, by contrast, have no limitations whatsoever.

The problem for the abortion lobby’s campaign, is that their view is completely contrary to where science, medicine, and public opinion have moved in the last few decades. Consequently, the manifesto her campaign has drawn up is far removed from what is morally and politically acceptable.

If abortion in the UK were to become as totally deregulated as the abortion lobby would like, this would mean removing that two doctors give their ‘good faith’ judgement that the abortion is necessary for certain prescribed reasons, and that doctors alone (not nurses) should carry out abortions. It would also include the license of abortions that most people rightly find abhorrent: such as abortions based on the sex of the unborn child. Just as the preferred abortion lobby term ‘pro-choice’ simply begs the question ‘Which choice?’, so ‘We Trust Women’ begs the question, ‘To do what?’ To have sex-selective abortions (which Furedi has supported, and BPAS has insisted is legal, despite Government disagreement)? To kill their child at 32-34 weeks as Natalie Towers did?

Such an agenda runs counter to the consensus of UK public opinion. As RTL reported earlier:

“In October 2014, a ComRes poll found that 84% of people favoured a total and explicit ban on abortions based on the baby’s sex, including 85% of women. Another ComRes poll in March that same year found a similar figure, with 86% of people favouring a total ban (including 88% of women). This latter poll also found that 89% (92% of women) agreed that a woman requesting an abortion should always be seen in person by a qualified doctor, and 76% (78% of women) agreed that the health of women considering an abortion would be put at risk unless the doctors who sign abortion request forms had also seen the patient.”

What the abortion lobby are asking for – for nurses to be allowed to perform abortions and for abortion to be so on demand that it could take place for the purposes of sex-selection – completely contradicts what the vast majority of the public, especially women, think about those issues.

The marginality in the appeal of this extreme campaign, however is only one dimension in the practical question of its popular relevance. As the advent of 4D imaging, improvements in the ability of doctors to save pre-term babies, and better public knowledge of embryology have all made increasingly clear to the wider proportion of Britons, abortion always involves the destruction of an unborn human being. The life of a defenceless child is ended at precisely the time and place where they should be safest. As public awareness of unborn humanity increases, so more horrifying the idea of a total and sub-humanist disregard of the dignity and right to life of children in the womb will become.

More critiques can (and will) be made of the ‘We Trust Women’ campaign. What is immediately clear for now is that it is nothing less than the apotheosis of pro-abortion ideology. It is a campaign that dresses itself in feminism despite enabling gendercide. It prescribes a legal and social scenario utterly unacceptable to the majority of Britons. It involves a callous disregard for the humanity and rights of unborn children. In short, it is a ludicrous and hopelessly unrealistic move that only serves to helpfully demonstrate the extremism, anti-feminism, and inhumanity of the abortion lobby.