Stop the move to decriminalize abortion!
PETITION from Voice for Justice UK:
We call on her Majesty’s government to uphold protections for the life of the unborn child, and to reject further attempts to decriminalize abortion.
On March 13, the Ten-Minute Bill put forward by Diana Johnson MP seeking to decriminalize abortion was passed by 170 votes to 142. The Bill will go for its second reading on March 24th, after which it can in theory become law.
Under current law, abortion per se remains a criminal offence, but becomes legal subject to the fulfillment of certain criteria relating to the woman’s physical or mental health; the physical or mental health of her existing children; or risk of foetal abnormality. Termination requires the agreement of two doctors that these conditions are satisfied; at least one of whom should have examined her.
Ms Johnson argues that provisions under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, making attempts to procure an abortion an offence, are anachronistic. With such easy access to abortion pills by post, for women wanting privacy, she says such a law is both ‘inappropriate and unfair’ – as well as being out of step with public opinion.
We argue that this is wrong, and that current provisions, weak as they are, operate as much-needed safeguards. First, abortion carries risk and needs medical supervision, if danger to the woman’s health is to be avoided. Second, if abortion becomes easier up to term, we will inevitably see a rise in terminations where the baby somehow fails to meet the expectations of one or both parents; where, for example, the baby is the wrong sex. Third, girls and young women who become pregnant following abuse will have no defence against coercion by manipulative and controlling men, whether the father or not. Fourth, under current law, since 1967 we have already seen 8.2 million abortions, and one in four pregnancies currently end in termination (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36266873). So what happens if all restriction is removed – will the figures become 1 in 3, 1 in 2? Demographically we are already in crisis, but at this rate we run the danger of seriously depopulating the country, making us even more reliant on immigration, which Brexit propsoes to ban!
And none of these arguments touch on the rights of the unborn child, which Ms Johnson seems entirely to ignore. The current time limit for abortion is 24 weeks, yet recent studies indicate that increasing numbers of babies are now viable at 23 weeks – and many are surviving even earlier, at 22, 21 and even 20 weeks. Proponents of choice argue that a woman has an absolute right to decide whether or not she wants to have a baby – but, to borrow Ms Johnson’s terminology, is it really ‘fair’ that a baby capable of being born alive should legally, and without any medical cause, be aborted? In such case, the full extent of the moral and legal fiction that an unborn child is not a human being and therefore has no rights must surely be exposed.
For all these reasons we call on government to reject absolutely Ms Johnson’s proposed change to the law.