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Where do the Liberal Democrat leadership candidates stand on abortion?

With the date for Vince Cable’s departure as leader of the Liberal Democrats now set on the 23rd July, the Party is now looking for his successor. So far, only two candidates have put their names forward in the leadership contest which will close on the 7th June.

Deputy leader of the party, Jo Swinson MP, will face competition from former Energy Secretary, Sir Ed Davey MP.

We have put together the following voting record outline which details the voting records on abortion for each of the current leadership candidates. These records come from the Where Do They Stand database, you can view voting records for other MPs on the website here. We will be updating this outline as more candidates but their name forward.

This voting record outline will be useful for all members of the Liberal Democrats party, as party members have the final say in who becomes the next leader.

We are about to enter a very important period in UK for the abortion issue. Polling shows that there is very strong demand from the public for a range of changes to our abortion laws that would introduce new safeguards and restrictions to increase protections for the unborn child and support for women in crisis pregnancies. There is also currently a strong push from the abortion lobby to introduce abortion on demand to Northern Ireland and make extreme changes to abortion legislation in England and Wales.

It is important therefore that the next leader of the Liberal Democrats (or or any party) is open to supporting positive changes that would improve our abortion laws and that they will also reject pressure from the abortion lobby to make them worse.

We have produced an outline of the voting record of each candidate and included links to their full voting record the Where Do They Stand website. We have included this as it may be difficult to read the details of each of the votes on the voting record outline as we have had to fit in a lot of content into a very small space. A description of each of these votes can be clearly read over on the Where Do They Stand website.

Green squares represent the MP casting a pro-life vote, red represents a pro-abortion vote, yellow is an abstention and grey indicates that the MP was not in office at the time of the vote.

Lib Dems
  1. Amendment to put pressure on the Government to change abortion legislation in Northern Ireland – 24/10/2018.
  2. Introduce abortion on demand, for any reason, up-to 24-weeks in Northern Ireland. Remove many of the current legal safeguards around abortion provision in England and Wales – 23/10/2018.
  3. Introduce abortion on demand, for any reason, up-to-birth (‘Decriminalisation’) – 13/03/2017.
  4. Explicit ban on sex-selective abortion – 23/02/2015.
  5. Independent abortion counselling – 07/09/2011.
  6. Better information and counselling for parents facing a disability diagnosis in pregnancy – 20/05/2008.
  7. Reduce abortion limit to 12 weeks – 20/05/2008.
  8. Reduce abortion limit to 16 weeks – 20/05/2008.
  9. Reduce abortion limit to 20 weeks – 20/05/2008.
  10. Reduce abortion limit to 22 weeks – 20/05/2008.
  11. Counselling and 7-day cooling off period – 05/06/2007.
  12. Parental notification for girls 15 and under seeking an abortion – 14/03/2007.

Sir Ed Davey

Jo Swinson

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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