In a major pro-life victory, an attempt to introduced two extreme abortion amendments in England and Wales has failed, after the two MPs that introduced them decided not to take their amendment to a vote when they realised that they would most likely be defeated.
According to Right to Life UK, Diana Johnson MP had proposed an amendment that would legalise abortion on demand in England and Wales, therefore allowing abortion for any reason, up until birth. If approved, this would have been one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world.
Additionally, Rupa Hug MP also introduced an amendment that would ban people from offering women support outside abortion clinics. Pro-lifers would be forbidden from approaching women seeking abortion within 150 metres of an abortion clinic, and any offenders could be faced with up to 2 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. This ban would include, protests, demonstrations, and offering women practical, emotional, and/or financial support, to help them in continuing with their pregnancy.
These two amendments were brought to the government, despite strong public opposition to the proposals. Right to Life UK reports on two recent polls from Savanta ComRes, where one revealed that only 1% of women were in favour of extending the time limit for abortions, which currently stands at 24 weeks gestation, whereas 70% of women were in favour of reducing the time limit. The second poll revealed that only 21% of the general population were in favour of 'censorship zones' around abortion clinics.
Over the past week, Right to Life UK had urged members of the public to contact their MPs urging them to vote against the two amendments. Additionally, over 800 doctors had signed an open letter to Diana Johnson MP, urging her to withdraw her amendment, stating that it's passing would create a very difficult work environment for them.
“As health professionals, where required, we are responsible for the care of both women and their babies throughout pregnancy and childbirth. It would be very difficult for us to work in a health service where the lives of these babies could be ended for any reason up to birth and where current legal safeguards around abortion, many of which are there to protect women, have been removed,” the letter said.
“Your proposal to allow abortion up to birth in this country would be to attack the heart of the medical profession: our core duty to protect life whenever and wherever possible,” it continued. “The British public prides itself on being a reasonable, humane and tolerant society. Such an extreme and radical abortion law has no place in the UK. Your proposal is out of keeping with what we take to be the central ethic of our profession, as well as the consistently expressed wishes of British women with regards to the legality and regulation of abortion.”
A number of MPs, who do not necessarily hold pro-life values, had expressed shock at the proposal for abortion up till birth during the debate on the amendments. It is reported that the abortion lobby had encouraged Dianna Johnson MP and Rupa Hug MP to withdraw their amendments once they realised that both amendments would most likely be defeated. If the amendments had been taken to a vote and lost, this would have been the first defeat of a pro-abortion amendment in the UK.
“Thank you to the thousands of people that rallied over the last week to get friends and family to email their MPs,” said the spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson. “MPs received more emails ahead of this vote than they have ever received ahead of an abortion vote and some MPs said that they received more emails on this issue than on any other issue while in office”.
“Thank you to the amazing group of pro-life MPs in Parliament who have worked so hard to ensure that these extreme amendments were defeated,” she continued. “Thank you to the large number of organisations that have all come together to encourage their supporters to contact MPs and ensure this major attempt to introduce extreme abortion changes was defeated”.
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