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ss CMF news - spring 2017,  Public Policy

Public Policy

New abortion challenge

Diana Johnson's radical abortion-up-to-birth motion narrowly passed in the House of Commons 172-142. In practice it would render the Abortion Act null and void and allow abortion on demand, for any reason. Johnson's motion has influential backers including BPAS and the Royal College of Midwives. This is a Ten Minute Rule Bill. Governments rarely give parliamentary time to a Ten Minute Rule Bill and so they go no further. It is highly likely however, given the level of support, that this one may return in May as a Private Member's Bill. If so it will constitute a serious threat. A 2011 YouGov poll showed that 88% of UK women either want to keep the current law and time limit on abortions (24 weeks) or restrict it further. In contrast only 2% of women support an increase in the abortion time limit beyond 24 weeks. The gap is narrowing between the 24-week limit and the ability of premature babies to survive. In some parts of the country over the past five years, up to 70% of babies born at 23 survived at some hospitals. Meanwhile the private abortion industry is under a dark cloud because of unethical, unsafe and unprofessional practices.

Recent CMF submissions
  • Scottish Government: Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation (March 2017).
  • General Pharmaceutical Council: Personals Values and Beliefs (March 2017).
  • Parliamentary Inquiry into genomics and genome-editing by the Science and Technology Committee (December 2016).
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