Abortion Rights Calls for protest against Trojan horse amendment
Fiona Bruce MP’s amendment to Part 5 of the Serious Crime Bill is an attempt to undermine the 1967 Abortion Act and women’s access to healthcare.
Abortion Rights sees Bruce’s amendment, which aims to make abortion on the grounds of gender illegal, as an attempt to obstruct women’s rights under the guise of protecting female fetuses. Anti-abortion activists around the world have deployed this Trojan horse tactic, attempting to use the issue of sex-selective abortion as a first step to undermining and preventing legal abortion. Gender equality is not advanced by enacting laws that place new restrictions on women’s bodies.
Bruce’s amendment might appear to be pro-women but its true purpose is to reduce reproductive rights.
Abortion Rights is concerned that Bruce’s amendment would have the following impact:
- It would make vulnerable women more vulnerable, despite claims to protect them.If any woman is requesting an abortion against her will because she is being coerced, abused or threatened, it is vital that she can talk to the abortion referrer or provider about it without fear of prosecution. A woman must be supported to make her own decision and be signposted to agencies that can help her.
- It would undermine confidentiality between doctors and their patients and deter doctors from referring women for abortion. Doctors would be made responsible for looking into a woman’s family life to decide if she is seeking an abortion on the grounds of gender. It would place inappropriate pressure on professionals in the health service to monitor women and make judgments about their motives before agreeing to provide an abortion.
It would establish a precedent for making a certain kind of abortion illegal, thereby putting all other reasons for having an abortion under scrutiny in the future. This is a slippery slope that could ultimately erode a woman’s right to choose and to make private decisions about her health.
Notes for editors:
- Abortion Rights UK is the UK’s national pro-choice organisation campaigning for a woman’s right to choose. Our website is abortionrights.org.uk
- Read Abortion Rights Sex-Selection abortion statement here
- Abortion is legal in England, Scotland and Wales provided a woman gains the consent of two doctors. Abortions are normally carried out on the NHS.
- Abortion, except in extreme circumstances, is illegal in Northern Ireland and estimates suggest as many as 40 women a week travel to other parts of the UK to obtain services that other UK citizens can receive for free.
- Abortion Rights UK is campaigning to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland and to remove obstacles to safe legal abortion for women across the UK and around the world.
- Abortion Rights, as a prochoice campaign, is firmly against anyone’s bodily autonomy being ignored or overridden.
- Our media team would be happy to provide further quotes, press images and information. Contact Kerry Abel on 07979 535242