Thank you for contacting me about the Both Lives Pledge.
Abortion is an extremely sensitive issue with strongly held views on both sides. It is my personal belief that those who want or need an abortion should have the right to choose a safe, legal abortion in all areas of the UK.
I share the concerns you raise over sex-selective abortion. It is illegal to perform an abortion on grounds of sex selection alone. The Government advises that 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 2021, its latest report showed no evidence that this is an issue in the UK.
I share the concerns you raise over pregnancy and maternity discrimination. In June 2020, the TUC found that one in four pregnant women and new mothers experienced unfair treatment or discrimination at work during the pandemic, including being singled out for redundancy or furlough. This is entirely unacceptable.
We are still waiting for the Employment Bill promised in the December 2019 Queen’s Speech, which the Government said would extend redundancy protections for pregnant women and new mothers. Since then, it has promised to strengthen such protections “when parliamentary time allows”. I believe that this should be made an urgent priority. I would like to see a change in the law to make it illegal to make women redundant during pregnancy and for six months after their return to work.
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 when considering issues around abortion and maternity rights.