LONDON, November 6, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The UK’s abortion law needs to be “reformed” by lowering the gestational age limit to 20 from 24 weeks, by extending abortion into Northern Ireland and creating abortion on demand as a right up to 12 weeks, says an MP often characterized as “pro-life” by the media establishment.
Nadine Dorries, a Conservative Party backbench MP who has turned lowering the gestational age limit into her own campaign, secured a debate last week in the House of Commons for 90 minutes in which she laid out her plan to “reform” the 1967 Abortion Act.
Dorries said, “Everyone knows that in this country abortion is obtained on demand by whoever wants it, whenever they want it. 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.”
“As the mother of three young adult daughters, I am a strong believer in a woman’s right to choose. Never, ever would I want to see a return to the bad old days of backstreet abortionists, or restricted access to early abortion.”
John Smeaton, head of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said that Dorries’ comments reveal that she is a “radical” pro-abortion campaigner whose ideas are confused at best. Smeaton commented that the debate “served to show the dangers inherent in the campaign to reduce the upper time for social abortions.”
Lowering the gestational age limit by amending the Abortion Act will do nothing to save unborn children, SPUC maintains, although it may act to salve the guilt of waffling legislators and the undecided public.
Dorries said in the House that her campaign would exclude “babies with foetal abnormalities or, sadly, disabilities.” She commented, “That is a discussion to be held, as I have said, between parents and doctors.”
SPUC has steadfastly opposed gestational legislation, saying that it not only gives away fundamental ground by saying that selected children can be legally killed based on their age, but that it leaves the legal situation vulnerable to opportunistic amendments by pro-abortion MPs.
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A similar outcome was seen in 1990 when Lord David Alton brought forward a bill to lower the age limit from the previous 28 weeks to 24. Abortion campaigners in Parliament used the opportunity to sweep away legal protections for unborn children suspected of having disabilities, who can now be legally killed up to the time of full gestation. Dorries’ proposal to revisit the issue will, SPUC said, reinforce the “current discrimination against disabled babies, allowing them to be aborted up to birth.”
Dorries’ proposal to extend abortion into Northern Ireland, a goal that has long been dear Parliament’s core of hardened abortion lobbyists like Dianne Abbott, has shocked pro-life advocates in the province. Dorries heartily approved the establishment of the illegal Marie Stopes abortion facility in Belfast, which has created an uproar in recent days.
“I believe the law on abortion should be equal in all parts of the Union,” Dorries told the House of Commons. “There needs to be parity across the board.”
She was particularly pleased that it was Marie Stopes moving into Northern Ireland: “If any abortion provider is to come to Northern Ireland, Marie Stopes is probably the best bet.”
Dorries’ claim that Marie Stopes “has no political ideology and is concerned only for the health of the woman,” and that “it operates in a professional manner,” was received with incredulity by Bernadette Smyth, head of Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life lobby group. Smyth told LifeSiteNews.com called Dorries’ proposal “very dangerous” and said she is “not a pro-life MP” who “needs to butt out of Northern Ireland.”
Smyth confirmed to LSN that the Attorney General for Northern Ireland and the Justice Committee are investigating Marie Stopes for illegal activities. She observed that Marie Stopes is one of the largest and most effective abortion lobbying groups in the world, whose favorite method is to “break the law to change the law.”
In July this year, the abortion giant had their activities permanently “suspended” in Zambia for aborting children illegally there. In that country, Marie Stopes made precisely the same claim as in Northern Ireland, that it would act “within the legal framework.” But Northern Province Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Mwamba, said the group had conducted hundreds of early term “medical” or chemical abortions in contravention of the law, “based on social reasons, social conditions or performed abortions on the mere basis that the pregnancy was unwanted.”
Smyth said that the response of the public to the Belfast Marie Stopes facility has been strongly negative. “People of Northern Ireland,” she said, “are rising even stronger than before. Outrage is rising all over.” She observed that thus far, no customers have had the proffered early chemical abortions at the Belfast facility, saying that it is clear the purpose of the facility is purely political, “to make it look as though there is a demand”.
“It is probably the only abortion facility in the world that doesn’t do abortions, because no one here wants them.”
With few exceptions, pro-life people in Britain have “uniformly” rejected the call for lowered age limits, Smyth said. Instead there is “universal agreement that abortion must be abolished outright.” To change the law to include a lower age limit, she said, would make abortion a right to be regulated. “As it is, abortion is still covered under the criminal code, which is where it belongs.”
Smyth said that Precious Life has written to MPs asking that Dorries “never be given a platform again” in Parliament for her plans.
Smyth said she believes Marie Stopes is working closely with other abortion advocate groups, including the Irish Family Planning Association, who has launched another court case, set to be heard on January 22nd, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, alleging that Northern Ireland has failed to issue clear “termination of pregnancy guidelines”.
Speaking against Dorries was Jim Shannon, a DUP MP from Northern Ireland, who said, “I believe in human rights. I believe in the most basic of human rights, the right to life, so I am against abortion. I believe that the strong have a duty to protect the weak and the vulnerable.”
Shannon pointed to statistics showing that Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, with their very restrictive laws on abortion, have some of the lowest rates of maternal death and mortality in the world. “The UK mainland, with its more liberal abortion law, has a higher rate of maternal deaths. That speaks volumes, and it is clear that restricted abortion to save the mother’s life, which we have in Northern Ireland, works well to save both mother and child.”
“If there was the option of bringing in Northern Ireland’s abortion laws, I would be pleading with everyone in this House to do just that,” he added. “Although I cannot today change the law in England and Wales, I speak for those babies who feel the pain of being ripped from their mother’s womb. This must stop today.”
Smyth said her sources in the House of Commons say that it is unlikely that Dorries’ proposal will succeed. “She’s exhausted all the avenues they said and there is no will in Parliament for that motion to be put forward,” she said.