UK: “Extreme” amendment to allow abortion up to birth rejected
The ammendment to the PCSC Bill was withdrawn after being debated in the Parliament. “UK politicians should be backing moves to lower the legal limit for abortion, not raise it”, says Christian organisation.
LONDON · 06 JULY 2021 · 11:04 CET
On 5 July, the United Kingdom Parliament debated the “New Clause 55”, an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (PCSC Bill) that would have completely deregulated abortion in England and Wales.
Member of Parliament Diana Johnson of the Labour Party had introduced the amendment, a “last-minute extreme attempt” to normalise “a culture of abortion”, said the Advocacy Officer of the Evangelical Alliance United Kingdom (EAUK), Danny Webster, in this article.
“The impact of this move, if passed, could potentially allow abortion without restriction up to birth and for any reason including on the basis of the unborn child’s sex”, Webster explained.
According to the Christian organisation CARE, the amendment, would also have “removed the requirement for a doctor to be involved and removed conscience protections for medics who object to abortion”.
After the Parliament in Westminster debated the changes to the law, Johnson decided not to push the amendment for a vote to a avoid a defeat.
Both Christian and secular organisations with a pro-life stance also expressed their relief.
Calls to lower abortion time limit below 24 weeks
The Abortion Act of 1967 allows women to end their pregnancy up to week 24.
A poll in 2017 found that only 1% of women wanted to see the limit for abortion extended through to birth. The same survey found that 70% of women wanted to see the abortion time limit reduced to 20 weeks or below.
Nola Leach of CARE, said: “We know that babies are capable of living outside the womb from around 22 weeks. Most European nations have a lower legal limit than the UK (...). UK politicians should be backing moves to lower the legal limit for abortion, not raise it”.