Thursday, 16 March 2017

Great News ! Cross-Party Ten Minute Rule Bill To Decriminalise Abortion Wins First Vote

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 MPs challenge Victorian law that criminalises abortion


The Guardian reports: "MPs have won the right to introduce a bill to parliament which would decriminalise abortion for the first time by repealing a law that dates back to Victorian times.  A ten-minute rule bill introduced by Diana Johnson, the Labour MP for Hull North, sought permission of the House to change two sections of a law passed in 1861, before women had the vote. It succeeded by 170 votes to 142, a margin of 32.

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Johnson argued that the law was unfair and inappropriate in an age when women can and will access abortion pills by post because they want to be able to terminate their pregnancy in the privacy of their own home. As the law stands, doing so is technically punishable by life imprisonment under sections 58 and 59 of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act – both for the woman and for anyone, including a doctor, who helps her. This is the harshest criminal penalty of any country in Europe, underpinned by a Victorian criminal law passed before women had the right to vote, let alone sit in this place,” Johnson told MPs. Poland, a traditional Catholic country, does not criminalise women for having an abortion, she said. In the United States, when the current president suggested women should be criminalised, he was forced to backtrack, she added."


The Independent reports: Labour MP Diana Johnson introduced the cross-party bill to the House of Commons, which calls for full decriminalisation. She told MPs: "There is no other medical procedure in this country is governed by legislation this old, this out of step with medical developments and public attitudes. "Doctors are poorly served by a criminal framework which does not apply to other areas of medicine."  The bill is backed by the Royal College of Midwives and the British Pregnancy Advisory service.

The Guardian reports

The Independent reports

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