Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the issue of abortion and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Abortion is an extremely sensitive issue with strongly held views on both sides. It is my personal belief that those who want one should have the right to choose a safe, legal abortion in all areas of the UK.
The Abortion Act 1967 set in law circumstances where abortion would not be illegal. Otherwise, under the Offences Against the Person Act (OAPA) 1861, it is a criminal offence to provide an abortion or for a woman to end her own pregnancy. Section 58 of the OAPA makes it an offence to administer drugs or use instruments to procure abortion, while section 59 makes it an offence to procure or supply drugs to cause abortion.
As you point out, New Clause 55 was debated on 5th July but was not pushed to a vote and therefore does not form part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
It remains the case that except in very limited circumstances – for example, if the mother’s life is at risk – most abortions in Great Britain are carried out before 24 weeks.
Sex selection is not one of the lawful grounds for termination of pregnancy. The Government advises it conducts annual analysis of the male-female birth ratio for England and Wales to see whether any evidence of this issue arises. In October, its latest report showed no evidence that this is an issue in the UK.
I believe it is important that we are all able to voice our views and that this will be done in a respectful way. As your elected representative in Parliament, I will continue to bear in mind the points you have raised.