Yesterday, (12th March 2017) Labour MP Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) asked the House of Commons for permission to introduce a Private Members’ Bill to the House of Commons.
The 1st reading before the House of Commons was on the 13th March 2017
The 2nd reading is scheduled for the delayed, (due to Westminster Terror attack), until the 12th May 2017.
The bill full text is not yet published, I will update this later.
Diana said that the bill was to “regulate the termination of pregnancies by medical practitioners and to repeal certain criminal offences relating to such terminations; and for connected purposes.”
In England and Wales, under the Abortion Act 1967, introduced by David Steel, women have a legal route to an abortion. But Diana and those who support this bill wish to not only allow aborting under controlled circumstances, i.e. for medical reasons and upon the approval of two doctors etc. but they now wish to decriminalise the killing of a baby pre-birth.
You may have thought that it was now legal to abort a baby, to kill a pre-born child, but in fact, children in the womb are still protected as human beings under sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 and other legislation. There is a legal route to abortion, but apart from the provision of David Steel’s act, killing a pre-born child is still against the law.
As one might expect there is a deal of liberal propaganda in the press about this bill. Diana is being painted a hero of women’s rights attacking out of date legislation. Especially the use of the term, ‘Victorian.’ We do not want any of that prim and proper, backwards looking Victorian legislation on out statute books do we.
Diana brought several life stories of women who for one reason or another wished to be able to kill their babies outside of the Abortion Act 1967, but who for one reason or another did not feel safe to do so because it was illegal.
Some of these cases sound deserving if killing you baby could ever be…
“I live in rural England and have no friends and the relatives I have I am not close to. I was hoping to have a termination in the comfort of my own home without judgmental eyes and without worrying about my husband knowing. I fear what would happen if he did. I have 3 children and my 3rd is 11 months old. I considered an abortion when he was conceived and had a terrible pregnancy and am still suffering from post natal depression. I will try to seek help, anonymously if possible. I’m in great need of help.”
Other cases seemed bazaar. Abortion it seems has become such a meaningless act that some inconvenience, like taking a day off work, is just too much.
“I have visited my GP last week and he referred me to my local NHS service. They can only offer me a medical abortion with three visits to the hospital on separate days. On the second visit, I am expected to stay there all day. I work full time and have two young sons so getting all that time off and childcare is going to be very difficult, probably impossible.”
I had a dental crown last year and that took more than three visits.
Diana quoted Dr Rebecca Gomperts, the director of Women on Web said about English women seeking help online, who said,
“Yes, we get them all the time. We had an Islamic girl forbidden from leaving the house without a chaperone. How is she going to get to an abortion clinic? She can’t. For her, her only option might be that she could get the medicine sent to her by post.”
It seems to me that there is a much bigger problem in that girl’s life than the need for an abortion. This girl is all but illegal detained in her home. Get the police and social services into that home and have those who are holding her captive prosecuted. Or is it that as Muslims they can just do as they like and the law can not touch them.
Come on Diana, deal with the real problem here, do not just kill the innocent child.
Diana used the illustration that, the United States has not criminalised women for having an abortion since the Supreme Court judgment in 1973. However, there is considerable anecdotal evidence that this has meant that some cults are now aborting pre-birth children as a sacrifice because it is safe, there can be no prosecution for such an act. But we can not go too deep into that aspect here. Changes in laws like this always have unintended and far-reaching consiquesnses.
Diana tries to paint a picture that this bill with not lead to an abortion free for all, however, we all know how the “very few abortion” that the Abortion Act 1967 was supposed to give rise to has now become a massive flood.
She said that the bill would not, “lead to a free-for-all with unlicensed practitioners providing abortions; as now, there will be strict regulation and licensing of health professionals. For example, both of the pills most commonly used in medical abortions are prescription only. That means they are covered under the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, which make it illegal to supply such drugs without a prescription.
However, these pills are already being posted into the country, ordered on the internet by mail order. If there is no penalty for ordering or using such pills this will undoubtedly increase. Even if it is illegal to order them, it will be a much lower penalty than for killing a baby.
Diana also says that “On the issue of non-consensual abortions, such as when a man assaults a pregnant woman, these would continue to be criminalised under other laws such as grievous bodily harm.” Though it is unclear that this means. If the baby no longer has any value as a human under sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861. who’s body, is the ‘grievous bodily harm’ being done to? If it is the woman, I assume that these pills do not cause a great deal of harm to the woman. This may end up being a hard to prosecute offence or a minor one at the best.
Coming towards the end of her speech, Diana says that, “I hope that hon. Members will, like me, conclude that the criminalisation of abortion suits nobody.” The baby might think that it serves them!
She closes with another bizarre statement that, this bill will bring a, “a profound shift in the relationship between the state and its female citizens.” and that part of this is that “for the first time women will be recognised as the authors of our own lives. With that comes our full citizenship.”
As a man, I have never felt the fact that I do not have the right to kill children deprives me of my citizenship.
Nor under any circumstances are any of us the “author of our own lives.” Diana is just using emotional rhetoric to back up the right to kill.