Sunday, 4 November 2012

Nadine Dorries-style radically pro-abortion 'time-limit' legislation must be rejected

Last Wednesday, members of the House of Commons debated the issue of abortion time-limits (full text). Nadine Dorries MP had secured parliamentary time for an adjournment debate in Westminster Hall. Such debates last typically for 90 minutes and no vote is held on the debate's subject. The debate served to show the dangers inherent in the campaign to reduce the upper time for social abortions.

Among other things, Nadine Dorries
  • promoted abortion on demand:
"I am pro-choice, and I believe that, up until 12 weeks, that should be the case. I am delighted that more than 90% of abortions in this country take place before 12 weeks."
  • called for the Abortion Act to be extended to Northern Ireland:
"[T]he law on abortion should be equal in all parts of the Union. Abortion law needs to be reformed in the UK, and there needs to be parity across the board."
"If any abortion provider is to come to Northern Ireland, Marie Stopes is probably the best bet. Marie Stopes is one of the most professional and non-advocacy-driven abortion providers. It has no political ideology and is concerned only for the health of the woman, and it operates in a professional manner. So I think that, if Northern Ireland is to have an abortion provider, Marie Stopes are the people to have."
  • mispresented the history of abortion law reform - "In 1990, the 1967 Act was amended to reduce the upper limit from 28 weeks to 24 weeks." - which is not true. Because of amendments to the abortion law made by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Act 1990, the previous limit - which was based on the capability of the baby to be born alive, not a fixed number of weeks (28) - was abolished. A 24-week time limit was introduced, but only for certain cases. In other cases, including where the abortion is carried out on grounds of disability, abortions can be and are now carried out right up to the time of birth. Every child who had reached the stage of development of being "capable of being born alive" was protected by the pre-1990 law. Since 1990 that protection has been removed. So the effect of the HFE Act 1990 was to increase the time-limit for abortion in most instances and in many cases right up to birth. 
  • backed discrimination against disabled babies:
"I want to make it clear that my proposal to reduce the upper limit does not include babies with foetal abnormalities or, sadly, disabilities. That is a discussion to be held, as I have said, between parents and doctors. Abortion is available up until birth for foetal abnormalities. My proposal applies to abortions for social reasons."
    So let's be clear about the implications of the Westminster Hall debate on the abortion 'upper limit' last Wednesday. Nadine Dorries made it crystal clear that she wants:
    • to introduce radically pro-abortion legislation in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy,which would have the effect of increasing substantially the numbers of abortion during that period
    • extending such legislation to Northern Ireland; and
    • reinforcing current discrimination against disabled babies, allowing them to be aborted up to birth.
    A Nadine Dorries-style bill must be firmly rejected by the pro-life movement.

    Such radical pro-abortion legislative thinking - sometimes wrongly and grotesquely presented as being based on good pro-life tactical thinking - has a tragic history, to which I allude above and to which I will return again shortly.

    Comments on this blog? Email them to
    Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
    Follow SPUC on Twitter
    Like SPUC's Facebook Page
    Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy