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Thousands urge Labour Party to scrap abortion up to birth pledge

Thousands of people have signed a petition urging Jeremy Corbyn to scrap the Labour Party’s pledge to introduce abortion up to birth, for any reason, to the UK.

The life-and-death call comes from pro-life campaigners ahead of polling day tomorrow, amid fears the UK could have the most extreme abortion law in the world and become a hotspot for ‘abortion tourism’ for the rest of Europe.

Right To Life UK are encouraging supporters to find out where their local candidates stand on abortion by visiting using their recently launched candidate database tool which details voting records and which pledges a particular candidate has signed.

The Labour Party manifesto, released last month, outlines (page 48) that the party is seeking to ‘decriminalise abortions’.

Full decriminalisation of abortion involves repealing sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act along with the Infant Life Preservation Act. The Abortion Act 1967, sets out exceptions to this underlying legislation which provides a set of criteria outlining when these acts can legally be ignored. Under these exceptions over 200,000 abortions took place in England and Wales last year. 

Within the Act, there is a strict time limit of 24 weeks for abortions that are performed under section 1(1)(a) of the Act. If sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act and the Infant Life Preservation Act were repealed, the Abortion Act would become redundant, and so would the 24-week time limit.

Repealing sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act along with the Infant Life Preservation Act would scrap the current 24-week time limit for abortion – and abortion would be available on-demand, for any reason, up to birth. The upper time limit would be completely abolished.

The change would position England and Wales drastically away from the European Union, where the most common abortion time limit among EU countries is 12 weeks. It could mean the UK becomes a hotspot for ‘abortion tourism’ from countries that have more safeguards, in law, protecting unborn babies from termination.  

Pro-abortion commentators have applauded the decision, making it clear that full ‘decriminalisation’ would scrap our current legal time allowing for abortion to be available for any reason up to birth.

However, the proposal is completely out of line with where women stand on the issue. Polling from Savanta ComRes shows that 70 percent of women favour reducing the time limit on abortion; while only 1 percent are in favour of extending it.

Journalist Melanie McDonagh has condemned Labour for their radical proposals, saying: “this move by Labour to decriminalise the [abortion] procedure takes us into a very dark place…

“These are seismic changes concerning deeply important ethical issues — and they simply cannot go unremarked.

“How deeply ironic that the party that makes a big deal about being pro-women would make it possible to abort girl foetuses on the basis of gender.”

A spokesperson for Right to Life UK Catherine Robinson said:

“Is the record number of 200,608 abortions for English and Welsh residents in 2018 not enough for Labour? Is 1 in 4 babies being aborted not enough for Labour? Is the recent news that five teenagers had at least their sixth abortion in 2018 not enough for Labour? Clearly not.

“The Labour Party should be committing to bringing 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.

“Labour’s manifesto confirms that the abortion lobby will be back in full force in the next parliament, pushing to introduce new extreme legislation. That is why we are urging everyone who is against sex-selective abortion, pregnancy discrimination and wants to see our abortion time limits lowered to vote for MP candidates who have pledged to protect and support Both Lives.

“Please sign the petition to urge Jeremy Corbyn to scrap the pledge to introduce an extreme and inhumane abortion regime to the UK.”

Dear reader,

Ahead of the General Election on 4 July, do you want to find out where your local MP candidates stand on abortion?

You can find out now using our Vote For Both Lives tool, which you can access by clicking the button below.