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Veteran pro-life politician, Baroness Williams, dies

Baroness Shirley Williams, former Labour and Social Democratic Party MP, and life-long pro-life politician died on Monday 12 April.

First elected as a Labour MP in 1964, she was one of only two women MPs who voted against the 1967 Abortion Act.

Baroness Williams of Crosby was a life-long opponent to abortion and human embryo experimentation, as well as human cloning and euthanasia.

The Labour Party, the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance all said that, though her pro-life views differed significantly from the majority of these parties’ MPs, they were nevertheless proud to have her as a member.

Significant political career

In 1964 Williams was elected to the House of Commons for Hitchin. She served as Minister for Education and Science between 1967 and 1969 and then Minister of State for Home Affairs from 1969 to 1970. She served as Shadow Home Secretary from 1971 and 1973. In 1974, she became Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection and then she served as Secretary of State for Education and Science and Paymaster General from 1976 to 1979. 

In 1981 she was one of the “Gang of Four”, centrist Labour figures who formed the SDP. Williams won the 1981 Crosby by-election and became the first SDP member elected to Parliament. She served as President of the SDP from 1982 to 1987 and was supportive of the SDP’s merger with the Liberal Party that formed the Liberal Democrats.

From 2001 to 2004, she served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, and from 2007 to 2010, as Adviser on Nuclear Proliferation to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. She remained an active member of the House of Lords until her retirement in January 2016, and was a Professor Emerita of Electoral Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

‘There are hazards in everything one does, but there are greater hazards in doing nothing.’

In a short obituary, Lord Alton of Liverpool said: “Shirley Williams was from a generation which respected conscience – but she also expected others to respect her conscience”.

“[She] gave politics a good name and all of us who knew her will greatly miss her wonderful spirit. A rising generation, interested in politics, should carefully reflect on her life, times and ideas”.

“She once said: ‘There are hazards in everything one does, but there are greater hazards in doing nothing.’ Not an accusation which could ever be levelled at her”.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “Baroness Williams of Crosby was one of the first of a long series of MPs since 1967 to resist, with great courage, conviction and respect, the change in the British Parliament in favour of abortion. Her stand against abortion has surely served, and will continue to serve, as a great example for all those who have come after her in ensuring that the unborn and women facing unplanned pregnancies are not forgotten in the Houses of Parliament”.

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Dear reader,

Thanks to the support of people like you, on Monday 5 July, a major attempt to hijack the UK Government’s flagship Police , Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill with two extreme abortion proposals failed, in a major pro-life victory.

Unfortunately, this major defeat is not the end for our opposition.

The abortion lobby has already been successful at using the Coronavirus crisis to temporarily introduce ‘DIY’ home abortions.

The policy has not only accompanied a large increase in the number of lives ended by abortion but has also been linked to a number of serious incidents where women’s lives have been put at risk while performing their abortion at home.

Our opposition is now eager to see more widespread changes to legislation enacted and we are currently facing major threats on three fronts:

  1. The abortion lobby is further exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to attempt to make dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortions available permanently.
  2. The Northern Ireland Secretary has given himself new powers to force expanded abortion services on Northern Ireland.
  3. The assisted suicide lobby has brought foward a bill to legalise assisted suicide, which was introduced to the House of Lords on 26 May.

If these major threats from our opposition are successful, it would be a disaster. Thousands of lives would be lost. We can’t sit on the sidelines and watch these extreme anti-life changes become a reality.

As you can see, while we have won our most recent battle, we continue to be facing a very large challenge on life issues in the UK over the next couple of months – and we will be facing this across multiple fronts.

We are, therefore, appealing to you to please give as generously as you can. Every donation, no matter how small, will go towards saving the lives of the unborn and many others.

By stopping these threats, YOU can save lives over this coming period.

Will you make a special gift right now to help protect vulnerable lives from these threats?

Q

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Q

Be the first to know…

When you sign up for email updates from us, you will be receiving:

Action alerts on the latest pro-life developments along with tools to help you change hearts and minds

Opportunities to help protect and defend more lives

Where should we send your updates?
By clicking submit, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms below.

Right To Life UK will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at info@righttolife.org.uk. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please see our Privacy Policy.

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