We welcome the decision by MPs to reject the amendment to the Serious Crime Bill proposed by Fiona Bruce.
The amendment was rejected by 292 votes to 201. MPs who spoke against the amendment were clear that:
- they don’t want to criminalise vulnerable women
- they don’t want to remove choice from families at risk of having children with sex-linked genetic disorders
- they don’t want to undermine the 1967 Abortion Act by removing doctors’ obligation to prioritise the health and wellbeing of the woman
MPs voted overwhelmingly for an alternative amendment aimed at assessing the extent and nature of sex selective practices, and addressing gender-discrimination and son-preference.
We want to thank all the organisations and individuals working with women across health and community settings who put together briefings, which provided authoritative arguments, and compelling and wide ranging perspectives for MPs to consider. One in three women in the UK will have an abortion at some time in their life and many more will face the dilemma of an unintended pregnancy. We are glad that women’s organisations recognise that equal access to safe, legal abortion is a vital issue for the women they serve.
You can read the debate on the Bruce amendment in Hansard here (column 113)
You can read the debate on ‘new clause 25’ the alternative amendment in Hansard here (column 149)