CARE believes that every life has value, from its beginning at conception to its natural end. Accordingly, CARE therefore believes that abortion is neither in the best interest of the mother or the child. We are also deeply concerned about the suffering of women wrestling with post-abortion trauma.
When introducing the Abortion Act 1967, proponents said it was only to make sure that people no longer went to dangerous ‘back-street’ abortionists, replacing them instead with a small number of legal and crucially safe abortions. However, since the 1967 Act the number of abortions in England and Wales is now over 8 million – more than twice the entire population of Wales. During this Parliament abortions in Great Britain have continued to approach 200,000 per annum.
2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 1967 Act and it is our hope that this year will mark a turning point when we will see the tide turn against widespread abortion in Great Britain.
Key events over the course of this Parliament have included:
- In May 2016, the Scottish Parliament gained law-making powers with regard to abortion law in Scotland. Before the passage of the Scotland Act 2016, abortion law in Scotland had been governed by Westminster. At the current time, there are no proposals to change the law on abortion in Scotland but this may change.
- The introduction of the Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill, which sought to remove disability as a grounds for abortion in Great Britain. This Bill was introduced in the House of Lords by Lord Shinkwin. It sought to remove the present discriminatory situation which allows disabled unborn children to be aborted up to term, while unborn children who are not disabled can only be aborted up to 24 weeks. The Bill fell due to the dissolution of Parliament for the General Election, but this issue is likely to resurface over the course of the next Parliament.
- Debate on a Ten Minute Rule Bill introduced by Diana Johnson MP, which called for the full decriminalisation of abortion across England and Wales. The effect of this legislation would have been to further liberalise the already highly liberal abortion regime in operation in Great Britain to allow abortion to take place for any reason up to term. Whilst this Bill narrowly passed its first stage by 172 votes to 142, it never stood a chance of becoming law due to the mechanism by which it was introduced. A similar Bill may be re-introduced in the next Parliament and we hope that MPs will reject its proposals.
Questions for candidates
1. Will you commit to working for law reform to end the discriminatory anomaly in our law that uniquely permits abortion on the basis of serious disability up to and during birth?
2. Will you commit to working for law reform to ensure that all women presenting for an abortion should be assessed in person by at least one doctor?
3. Will you commit to reducing the upper time limit for abortions in England, Wales and Scotland so they align with European averages?
4. Will you oppose efforts to decriminalise abortion in England and Wales?