I was pleased to vote in favour of Diana Johnson MP’s Ten Minute Rule Bill to decriminalise abortion in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, which passed its first reading. At present, any woman who ends her own pregnancy at any stage can technically be sent to prison for life under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. Equally, the Abortion Act 1967 does not extend to Northern Ireland, meaning that women there are almost entirely unable to access abortion within their own nation. I think all of this is completely unacceptable. I wholeheartedly support a woman’s right to choose, and polling by Amnesty has found that most of the UK public want to see abortion decriminalised. This is a human rights and a women’s health issue, and the current law is totally outdated, so I am delighted that the Bill will now proceed through parliament.
I am pleased that MPs in Westminster voted by 207 to 117 to force the Northern Ireland secretary, Karen Bradley, “to issue guidance” to explain how officials can continue to enforce the region’s draconian Victorian-era abortion law. I fully support a woman’s right to choose, and it was Labour votes in Parliament that helped ensure equal marriage and abortion are accessible in England, Scotland, and Wales.
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