Stop Diana Johnson MP's Abortion Up to Birth Bill
Diana Johnson has now published her Bill with a new name and wording.
The original wording of Diana Johnson's motion included explicit reference to decriminalising abortion via sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act. The new wording also seems to imply this:
"Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations): That leave be given to bring in a Bill to regulate the termination of pregnancies by medical practitioners and to repeal certain criminal offences relating to such terminations; and for connected purposes."
The Bill would introduce abortion-on-demand, either up to 28 weeks or up to term.
• The backers of the Bill, abortion provider BPAS, have made it explicit that they are campaigning for removal of all gestational time limits for abortion. At the launch of the campaign, BPAS CEO Anne Furedi emphasised this, saying ‘I want to be very, very clear and blunt... there should be no legal upper limit’.
• It seems likely that this Bill is calling for one of two routes to liberalising the law:
- Either, sections 58 and 59, which underpin UK abortion law, would be repealed, making the provisions and restrictions under the Abortion Act unenforceable. As there would be no law against any abortion, however obtained, for any reason, abortion on demand would come into effect up to 28 weeks.
- Or, the Bill would also repeal the provisions of the Infant Life (Preservation) Act, effectively legalising abortion on demand up until birth, bringing UK law in line with a handful of countries including China, Vietnam and Canada. The Canadian Medical Association Journal have described the situation in Canada as ‘a haven for parents who would terminate female fetuses in favour of having sons.’
This Bill intentionally uses vague and manipulative language because "decriminalisation" and "[repealing] certain criminal offences" sounds much better than advocating for abortion up to birth.
Diana Johnson has claimed that this Bill will not affect time limits. These words however, do not affect the legal reality. "to repeal certain criminal offences relating to such terminations" is to permit abortion on demand until 28 weeks or birth.
Since last year, the Royal College of Midwives has officially supported the extremist position of the “We Trust Women” campaign which aims to completely decriminalise abortion up until birth for any reason. This means that abortions would be permitted at 9 months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever. A healthy child in the womb at 9 months could be lawfully killed.
In addition to permitting, in law, the killing of babies throughout all 9 months of pregnancy, the decriminalisation of abortion law also allows the misogynistic practice of sex-selective abortions where girls are killed for the crime of being girls.
This is a deeply anti-human practice which our legal system should not permit.
Now, Diana Johnson MP, is introducing the Abortion (Decriminalisation) Ten Minute Rule Bill which seeks to make the RCM’s extremist position on abortion the law.
The Bill’s author claims that the Bill would not amend the abortion time limit. This is a falsehood. The proponents of the Bill are either confused about the consequences of this Bill or they are intentionally trying to deceive MPs and the public more generally.
As the We Trust Women campaign makes clear, “The abortion time limit would be removed from criminal law.” Which is another way of saying, that the decriminalisation of abortion, in fact, would permit abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever.
This interpretation is confirmed by the Chief Executive of BPAS and one of the most prominent supporters of the "We Trust Women" campaign, Ann Furedi, who said at the launch of that campaign: "there should be no legal upper limit, that is what taking it out of the criminal law means.”
This is also confirmed by Director of Services to Members at the Royal College Midwives, Dr Suzanne Tyler, when she appeared on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday (17/05)
"In theory the decriminalisation yes does mean that there are no abortion limits"
This extremist stance is wildly out of touch with the general public who recognise the abhorrence of this kind of legislation.
• 2012 polling on whether time limits for abortion should be increased showed that only 2% of women wanted the time limit to be extended to more than 24 weeks, in contrast to 59% of women who favoured a reduction in time limits.
• Over 1000 midwives have now signed the open letter asking for RCM position to decriminalise abortion to be revoked.
As a midwife from Liverpool, Liz Cragen has said about this Bill,
“Midwives will leave. Parliament better realise the consequences of their actions if they vote for this Bill. There is already a shortage of midwives, they won’t want to see that shortage increase.”
We must write to Diana Johnson MP, letting her know that this Bill cannot proceed any further.