Nick Benson

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Pro-lifers condemn emergency debate proposing decriminalisation of abortion up to birth

Faith and pro-life groups have condemned an emergency debate to be held in Parliament today at 12.30pm, which, in effect, proposes the decriminalisation of abortion up to birth.

While the vote is not binding, it is designed to pave the way for the removal of the legal limits on abortion in Northern Ireland and even those contained in the 1967 Abortion Act in England and Wales.

Stella Creasy MP will propose the repeal of sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (OAPA).

This is the core statute governing abortion in England and Wales. It provides that abortion (procuring miscarriage) is a grave offence. The Abortion Act, 1967, sets out exceptions to these offences, which are interpreted very broadly.

Indeed, despite what some of campaigners suggest, England and Wales has one of the most liberal abortion laws in the world. The 24 week abortion limit is twice the EU average. Most other countries impose a 12 week limit. If the campaigners in parliament really want to remove abortion from the criminal law, they will also seek to repeal the Infant Life Preservation Act, 1929 (ILPA) which still stands on the statue book and criminalises ‘child destruction’.

Without the OAPA, the exceptions outlined in the Abortion Act, 1967 become redundant introducing one of the most radical abortion laws in the world to England and Wales.

Twenty-four week limit is twice the EU average, with most other countries imposing a 12 week limit – effectively abortion on demand right up to birth.

Dawn McAvoy, co-founder of Both Lives Matter, said: “Stella Creasey wants full decriminalisation which would leave abortion largely unregulated. It could allow anyone to have an abortion, anywhere, for any reason, by any method. Abortion would suddenly be legal in Northern Ireland, undermining devolution. In England and Wales, the two doctor test would become irrelevant, the 24 week limit would be thrown out, gender selective abortion could be allowed, and the need for abortion providers to be regulated could be removed.”

Meanwhile, Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern questioned how such a society could call itself “civilised”.

“What has happened to the collective conscience in our nation that would celebrate and relish the right of a mother to kill her unborn child?” Ms Williams said.

“It is astounding to see abortion discussed as though it is a political issue, simply about rights. It was chilling to see the liberalisation of abortion in Ireland greeted with cheers and jubilation. Whatever the circumstances, abortion always means the ending of a human being. How can we glib and celebratory about that, wherever we stand on the abortion issues? We should be shocked out of our complacency. Greater scope to end human life should never be greeted with celebration or as a sign of progress.

“We need to reset the compass. This is not a political issue and it is not for political point scoring. It is a human issue. It is about human beings.”

This is an emergency for women and children in the UK. Anyone who cares about human life and human rights should want to oppose this proposal.

“I urge MPs to reject what is proposed in this emergency debate. It is a significant moment in our nation.”

Picture: Pro-life supporters. (Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA).

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OTHER NEWS

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