Diana Johnson MP has announced her intention to hijack the Domestic Abuse Bill with a radical amendment to introduce extreme abortion legislation to England & Wales.
Speaking at the Second Reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill, the pro-abortion MP championed a similar amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, that could see abortion for any reason up to 28-weeks imposed up on the province.
She declared it was time to do the same in this Bill, to introduce the same extreme abortion regime to England and Wales.
In July, in the absence of a functioning Stormont government, Westminster voted for an amendment to repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offence Against the Person Act in Northern Ireland if Stormont’s Executive is not restored by 21 October.
Johnson is expected to introduce a similar amendment to change the law in England and Wales, to the Domestic Abuse Bill, during the Bill’s Committee Stage.
Repealing these provisions would introduce abortion on demand, for any reason, up until when a child is capable of being born alive with a ceiling of 28 weeks to England and Wales, removing almost all the legal safeguards around abortion provided by the Abortion Act.
This would leave England and Wales with one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world and would be the biggest change to abortion legislation since 1967.
All other MPs who spoke on the topic of abortion, during yesterday’s Second Reading, were united in their criticism of Johnson and her plans to hijack the Domestic Abuse Bill, which would remove protections for unborn babies with a disability and allow sex-selective abortion.
Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller, commented that while some MPs had been quite open about their wish to change abortion law, the Domestic Abuse Bill is not the place to do it.
“I make a plea not to Ministers but to colleagues. Members need to resist the temptation to use the Bill to remedy all the issues, concerns, and campaigns in recent years to do with domestic abuse. Some of them have been quite open about their wish to include abortion reform in the Bill, and while there is clearly a strong case for reform, with which I would agree, this is not the place to do it. I do not believe that we have the time in this Parliament to give that issue the attention that it demands. My plea is for a separate Bill, sponsored by a Back-Bench MP in the usual way, to deal with that, and to deal with it swiftly.”
Pro-life MP Fiona Bruce said pointed to the unforeseen circumstances about to play out in Northern Ireland as a reason why the issue of extensive abortion reform “should not be undertaken by using Back-Bench amendments to an unrelated Bill.”
She added: “To learn our lesson on this, we need only look to the unforeseen circumstances now about to play out, sadly, in Northern Ireland later this month, with a five-month lacuna in the law on abortion there about to start because this place rushed through, with completely inadequate scrutiny, amendments to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Bill.”
Huw Merriman said, “it is essential that the Bill remains roughly in a shape that allows it to succeed”.
“I agree strongly with my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce) about abortion reform, which I very much favour, I do not believe this is the right Bill to deliver that reform”, he added.
Spokesperson for Right To Life UK Catherine Robinson said:
“It is highly inappropriate for pro-abortion MPs to hijack the Domestic Abuse Bill in a way that not only undermines its support for victims of domestic abuse and their families but also removes current legal safeguards for unborn babies, allowing abortion for any reason up to 28 weeks.
“Diana Johnson’s horrific amendment would introduce one of the most extreme abortion regimes in the world right across England and Wales.“
ComRes polling from 2017 showed the majority of people want the time limit for abortion to be reduced, to below 20 weeks, not increased. Should Diana Johnson follow through in her threats and introduce her radical abortion amendment, we hope MPs will take note that the majority of people do not want this and swiftly reject her proposals.