Yesterday in Parliament Fiona spoke out in support of the unborn and their mothers to defeat “shocking” abortion up to birth proposal tabled as an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
As a result of strong opposition to this extreme amendment, both from within and outside Parliament, the proposers did not put it to a vote, the amendment fell and so was not included in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Fiona's full speech from yesterday's debate can be read below.
"I speak to oppose New Clauses 55 and 42, which I urge colleagues to vote against.
New Clause 55 is truly shocking on many counts.
It would legalise abortions in this country right up to the moment of the birth of a child. No reason would need to be given. The current 24-week limit provision would go.
The New Cause would legalise sex-selective abortions: an abortion could be legally performed if someone chose to reject an unborn boy or girl.
It would remove the requirement for abortions to be carried out by doctors, and the protection for women that abortions should take place on approved premises.
It would remove the conscience clause: healthcare professionals could be required to conduct abortions contrary to their conscience or beliefs, or lose their job.
It would sweep away current legal safeguards and protections not only for the unborn child, but many that protect women. The Abortion Act 1967 would, in effect, be void.
New Clause 55 would be significantly more permissive than the Northern Ireland regulations introduced in 2020, and it would leave England and Wales with one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world. In Europe, the median gestational time limit for abortion is 12 weeks. Here, it is currently 24, with some exceptions. We should not be looking to increase it to 37 weeks—full term. Indeed, we should now be looking to lower it following medical advances over recent years regarding viability—the ability of a child to survive outside the womb at now 22 or even 21 weeks.
The proposals are shocking: a viable human being could have his or her life ended up to the point of birth, with no one held accountable, and yet a day later similar actions against a child outside the womb would constitute murder.
If, as has happened, the abortion procedure goes wrong, what then? Is the child to be left alone, crying and uncomforted, until it breathes its last?
If New Clause 55 were put to a vote, I am confident that it would be soundly defeated.
The proposal has no place on the amendment paper. It has no place in this House.
We are better than this. We are better than this as a Parliament. We are better than this as a country, and our constituents know it.
Our inboxes have been flooded with calls to oppose New Clause 55. I have had over 150 constituents email urging me to vote against new clause 55—not one constituent has asked me to support it.
More than 800 medical professionals have today called for its withdrawal.
Reports indicate that only 1% of women want the current 24-week limit extended, with 70% wanting it lowered. It was lowered in 1990 from 28 weeks to 24 weeks as medical advances improved, and now is the time to reduce it further following greater such advancement. That is what we should be debating today, and I hope we soon will.
Let today be a turning point in our approach towards the review of this country’s abortion laws. Let us determine to secure better protection for the unborn child and for women, not worse.
New Clause 55 has no place in a compassionate, civilised and humane society.
If, as I now understand, the proposers tabled it as a probing amendment, then I hope, given the strength of opposition that has gathered in just a few days within and outside this House, they will never contemplate reintroducing it.
We are better than this."