Abortion Decriminalisation Bill January 2017

Thank you for contacting me recently about the upcoming bill on the decriminalisation of abortion and the related ‘We Trust Women’ campaign.

Abortion is not an issue that I, or any parliamentary colleague I know from any party, takes lightly.

I realise this issue is both sensitive and complex. As your Member of Parliament, I believe it is my responsibility to use my judgement to carefully consider the varied and opposing points both the expert witnesses and constituencies give to me.

I understand how important it is for anyone considering abortion to receive impartial, non-directive, and clinical information regarding the pregnancy and procedure in order to make the best informed choice on whether to continue the pregnancy or to have the abortion. I would not wish to return to a situation where women choose to venture outside NHS and the law, putting themselves and their health at risk.

I am aware that under current laws, a woman can face criminal proceedings if she ends her pregnancy without two doctor signatures and can be liable to life imprisonment if she terminates her pregnancy beyond 24 weeks without medical legal authorisation. I realise that the threat of prosecution has deterred training in this field and other care. No other health care procedure is subject to criminal proceedings.

Given the sensitive nature and strong feelings surrounding this issue, the law is unlikely to meet the demands of every view, but it is my hope that the Government passes a law which ensures fair practices and respects the different sides of this debate. As you mention, my Labour colleague Diana Johnson MP will be tabling her ten-minute rule bill on the decriminalisation of abortion on 8th March 2017, which I will follow closely as it progresses through both houses.

Thank you once again for contacting me and sharing your views, I will bear in mind the points you have raised.