CARE believes that life begins at conception; in the book of Jeremiah God reveals to us that he knew us before we were even conceived. He says to the prophet Jeremiah; “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” This passage emphasises the personhood and identity of every child in the womb and the importance of safeguarding and protecting life from conception. CARE believes that abortion is neither in the best interest of the mother or the child and is deeply concerned about the suffering of women wrestling with post-abortion trauma. When introducing the 1967 Act 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 7 million. To put that in some kind of context that is more than twice the entire population of Wales. Likewise during this Parliament abortions have continued to approach 200,000 per annum.
The key events this Parliament have included:
- The Woman’s Right to Know Campaign called for the woman’s right to be informed of the risks associated with abortion and the need to be offered pre-abortion counselling from an independent provider. Government committed to offering counselling, however there was no commitment made to independent counselling.
- In 2013 Fiona Bruce MP chaired a Lords and Commons Parliamentary Inquiry on Abortion and Disability which highlighted the discriminatory nature of abortion on the grounds of disability.
- The Department of Health also published a consultation which changed abortion procedure; no longer would a woman seeking an abortion have to be seen in person by at least one doctor[i]
- In November 2014 there was a vote in Parliament on Fiona Bruce MP’s Gendercide Bill prohibiting sex-selective abortions. The Government contends that the 1967 Act does not permit sex-selective abortions on the basis of gender but the head of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), one of the biggest abortion providers in England, says that it is entirely legal. It passed by 181 votes to 1.
Questions for candidates
- Will you commit to working for law reform to put beyond all doubt the question of whether abortion on the basis of gender is legal, making it absolutely clear that it is not legal?
- 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 (although this often interpreted loosely) up to and during birth?
- 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.
- Will you commit to reducing the upper limit for abortions in England, Wales and Scotland so they align with European averages?