The Criminal Justice Bill will return to the house after Easter, when MPs will have the opportunity to vote on two amendments that will change the legal limit on abortion. Let us pray and encourage our elected representatives to attend the debate and vote in favour for both lives in pregnancy.

Firstly, I want to begin by thanking our members and supporters who took part in our last call to action and got in touch with your local MP and raised concerns on proposed amendments to decriminalise abortion. 

The responses we have received from parliamentarians so far show they are engaging with the concerns raised around health implications of at home abortions and the impact decriminalisation could have on the legal safeguards protecting woman and their unborn children. We now urge you to take one last action ahead of a crucial vote following the report stage debate. 


The medical case against abortion at any stage of pregnancy

Amendment NC1, led by Diana Johnson Labour MP, seeks to remove abortion from criminal law framework, which in reality would remove the last of the legal safeguards protecting both lives in pregnancy. 

If this clause became law then it would permit a situation where a woman could end her own pregnancy, the life of her healthy baby at any stage of pregnancy, including up to birth and not face legal consequences for that action. Such proposals ignore the serious health risks to women self-inducing an abortion later in their pregnancy and completely disregard the value and human dignity of the unborn baby. 

"A just society regards every human being as worthy of legal status and protection. For parliament to decriminalise abortion it is removing the last explicit legal protection for the tiniest unborn members of families and compromises the safety of women who self-induce an abortion in the latter stages of pregnancy. Both lives deserve better."
Dawn Mcavoy
Dawn McAvoy
Both Lives UK lead

Fellow Labour backbench MP, Stella Creasy, has introduced a separate amendment (NC40) whereby if accepted, would decriminalise abortion up to the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Both NC1 and NC40 amendments place abortions in a poorly supervised system where at home abortions would become the norm and medical complications increase. 

The Department for Office for Health Improvement and Disparities reported in November 2023, that there were health complications with a woman’s health, bleeding and abdominal pain, following an abortion and that abortion complications increased beyond the nine-week gestation period for older women terminating their pregnancies. For this analysis to be in the public domain and yet parliamentarians vote in support of either amendment is reckless and compromises the health of women. Decriminalising abortion could lead to more women experiencing more shorter- and longer-term health complications following an abortion.

Politicians advocating for the unborn child

A recent national study led by the British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM), reported that there was a three-fold increase in babies being born and surviving from 22 weeks. As a result, the BAPM has revised its guidelines to reflect a baby can exist outside the womb from 22 weeks with medical care.

We support Caroline Ansell Conservative MP’s tabled amendment and are briefing parliamentarians to support if the speaker calls for a vote. Her amendment supported by 30 other MPs, seeks to reduce the legal limit to terminate a pregnancy from 24 weeks to 22. The last time the abortion limit was lowered was in 1990, so if approved would mark a historic moment. 

"The increase in survival rates for babies born at 22 and 23 weeks gestation is one of the great success stories of medical progress in recent years. More and more babies born at these ages are able to survive thanks to the hard work of neonatal teams.”"
Caroline Ansell MP
Caroline Ansell
Conservative MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon

Encouragingly, Dr Liam Fox, Conservative MP, has mobilised strong cross-party support to his amendment (NC34), that would end late term abortions to babies diagnosed with Down’s syndrome.

Together these two amendments shift the debate away from progressive abortion policy’ to equality in law for babies diagnosed with a disability. Thus, improving support care for babies born before 37 weeks, as well as designing alternative pathways for women to continue in their pregnancy, whether

Will you join us in encouraging MPs to conceive of a society where women can flourish without abortion?