Narrow squeak – last minute extreme abortion law amendments withdrawn

Catholic Bishops of England and Wales are relieved two extreme abortion bills were withdrawn the day they were to be put to the vote in parliament.

The bills were included in the UK Government’s flagship Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

If passed in a vote on Monday this week, the proposed New Clause 55 would have allowed abortion, for any reason, up to birth.

The other bill – New Clause 42 – proposed introducing jail sentences for people demonstrating outside abortion clinics. It was also withdrawn on Monday.

“I welcome the fact that the radical amendment (New Clause 55), which was well outside the scope of the bill, was withdrawn,” says Bishop John Sherrington, who leads the bishops’ Life Issues portfolio.

“It would have swept away the few protections remaining for the unborn child and enabled abortion on demand as well as removing the possibility of the doctors’ conscientious objection.”

Commenting about the withdrawal of the abortion clinic censorship zone (New Clause 42) he said “we must stay vigilant to attempts to widen access to abortion by hijacking other bills.”

Sherrington thanked the thousands of people who lobbied MPs “and helped to prevent dangerous amendments to the bill from moving forward.”

Right To Life UK is also relieved the bills have been withdrawn.

Speaking on behalf of Right to Life, Catherine Robinson commented that the amendment allowing abortion for any reason up until birth “would have left England and Wales with one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world.”

Catholic Bishops and more than 800 medical professionals had urged the MP who introduced the abortion until birth proposal to withdraw her amendment.

“Your proposal to allow abortion up to birth in this country would be to attack the heart of the medical profession: our core duty to protect life whenever and wherever possible,” the medical professionals said.

On Tuesday, a woman with Down’s syndrome took a challenge to the current abortion law to the High Court in London.

The law as it stands permits the late termination of pregnancy if a “severe abnormality” is found,

The woman, Heidi Crowter, says the law discriminates against foetuses with Down’s Syndrome and the 24-week limit on abortions should apply to all babies.

On Wednesday, the Vatican’s “foreign minister” that the Holy See rejects the assertion in a report adopted by the European Parliament that abortion is a “human right.”

Archbishop Paul Gallagher made the comment during a visit to Portugal’s capital, Lisbon.


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