Abortion time limit and delay Bill defeated
In October 2006, a backbench Bill to reduce the abortion time limit from 24 to 21 weeks and introduce a 10-day ‘cooling off period’ delay was strongly defeated by 187 to 108 votes. The Bill was tabled by Conservative MP Nadine Dorries who used it as a vehicle to re-ignite a media frenzy around the issue of time limits. Abortion Rights coordinated extensive lobbying of MPs to secure a strong pro-choice vote. Every supporter who responded to our action alert and contacted their local MP will have made a difference. Labour MP Chris McCafferty, led the opposition with a powerful speech against the Bill, calling it ill-thought out, cruel to women and not based on science. A new more extreme Bill by Dorries is anticipated for the autumn.
Parental notification Bill defeated
In March 2007 a backbench Bill to end confidentiality for young women seeking abortion and other sexual health care was defeated by 159 votes to 87. The Contraception and Abortion (Parental Information) Bill sponsored by Conservative MP Angela Watkinson would have compelled doctors and other practitioners to inform parents of children under 16 where contraception or abortion services were being provided. It came just over a year after anti-choice mother Sue Axon, unsuccessfully attempted to overturn the government’s confidentiality guidelines for under 16’s.
Compulsory counselling and delay Bill defeated
On 5th June 2007 Conservative MP Ann Winterton’s bill to impose compulsory counselling and a seven-day delay on women’s access to abortion was defeated by 182 votes to 107. Winterton, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, used the bill to promote the view, contested by overwhelming evidence, that abortion is associated with high levels of psychological harm for women. The bill was modelled on regulations in some US states won by hard-line opponents of abortion. Labour MP Laura Moffatt spoke against the Bill and all those who lobbied their MPs ahead of the vote are to be congratulated.
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