UK General Election: Large group of pro-abortion MPs are gone, but big abortion threat still on the horizon

Following the UK General Election on Thursday, the number of pro-life MPs has increased while the pro-abortion lobby has lost a large number of MPs according to an analysis conducted by pro-life charity Right To Life UK.

Ahead of the vote, tens of thousands of the charity’s supporters urged MP candidates to sign the Both Lives Pledge, which outlined three policy changes designed to increase protection for babies in the womb and end pregnancy discrimination for women. Over 200 candidates signed the pledge ahead of polling day.

A number of prominent signatories of the Both Lives Pledge were elected. They include the former Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, Fiona Bruce, Maria Caulfield and Mary Glindon. 

Meanwhile, a number of outspoken pro-abortion MPs lost their seats including Anna Soubry, Paula Sherriff, Dennis Skinner and Chuka Umunna.

Ahead of the election, there was a major backlash against a decision by Labour and the Liberal Democrats to pledge in their manifestos to introduce an extreme abortion law to the UK. 

Both parties severely underperformed in the election on December 12. Conversely, the major parties who did not include a manifesto promise to introduce extreme abortion changes to abortion law, the Conservatives and Scottish National Party, both gained a large number of seats.

The results come after what has arguably been the worst parliament on record when it comes to life issues after MPs in Westminster voted to impose Europe’s most extreme abortion law on Northern Ireland.

However, the abortion lobby has made it clear that they will be seeking to introduce an extreme abortion proposal, possibly going as far as allowing abortion up to birth for any reason, most likely as an amendment to a new Domestic Abuse Bill.

Pro-life charity Right To Life UK has said it will be working hard to oppose the proposed new abortion framework in Northern Ireland, which is due to be introduced on March 31, and will also be working to block any attempts to introduced an extreme abortion law to Great Britain.

Additionally, the charity has said it will work closely with MPs to campaign for positive changes designed to increase protection for babies in the womb and end pregnancy discrimination for women.

In July, assisted suicide was debated in parliament for the first time since MPs voted by a huge majority, of 212, in 2015 to reject plans to introduce it to the UK.

Despite all major disability rights groups in the UK remaining opposed to any change in the law, it is likely there will be an attempt to introduce assisted suicide via a private members bill in this parliament. A significant number of MPs signed the Right To Life UK pledge to oppose assisted suicide and support better palliative care.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“Our analysis of the make-up of the new parliament indicates that the number of pro-life MPs has increased while the pro-abortion lobby has lost a large number of MPs. While this is positive, the threat of the introduction of an extreme abortion law has not gone away. The Domestic Abuse Bill will be back and the abortion lobby will be back in force, ready to amend it with the aim of introducing an extreme abortion law to England and Wales.

“We are calling on people throughout constituencies in the UK to make it clear to their local MP that they are against introducing an extreme abortion law or assisted suicide to England and Wales – and instead want to see positive policies that will better protect and support women, unborn babies and the elderly.”

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”.

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