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Don’t use Domestic Abuse Bill to make sweeping changes’ to the Abortion Act

29 April 2020
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The Domestic Abuse Bill introduces new measures to tackle violence against women

A prominent MP has said he hopes Domestic Abuse Bill (DAB) will not be used to change the 1967 Abortion Act.

Gavin Robinson was speaking during the second reading of the DAB in the House of Commons on Tuesday 28 April.

Reflecting on the reason why the issue of stalking in Northern Ireland was not included in the Bill's measures, he recognised it was because it was deemed 'out of scope' of the Bill.

He then went on to say:

Additionally, I trust that the rationale for failing to incorporate in the Bill at an earlier stage provisions on stalking for Northern Ireland—that it would have been out of scope—will similarly apply to the enthusiastic suggestion that some hon. Members would seek to hijack this Bill to make sweeping changes to the Abortion Act 1967.
Gavin Robinson MP House of Commons, 28 April DAB Second Reading

What’s abor­tion got to do with Domest­ic Abuse?

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Campaigners want to use the DAB to change abortion laws in England and Wales

Sadly, some MPs have made no secret of their intention of using the DAB to try and change abortion law in England and Wales. If successful, this would no doubt lead to changes in Scotland as well.

The word being used to describe what is being aimed at is ‘decriminalisation’. Those advocating this suggest women are being criminalised for abortions.

However, as CARE’s Naomi Marsden argues in here, this is misleading at best and deliberately deceptive at worst.

While the terms of the 1967 Abortion Act means there is the possibility of imprisonment if an illegal abortion takes place, this has actually very rarely been used. It is simply not true to suggest women are being criminalised by current abortion laws.

Domest­ic Abuse is a real and present challenge

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The latest Crime Survey for England and Wales recorded 2 million domestic abuses cases in year ending March 2018

It is really important that we are in no doubt that the DAB is an incredibly important piece of legislation. Domestic abuse occurs on a shocking scale.

All people are image bearers of God and the same passion that motivates CARE to campaign for the value of life applies to speaking out against the abuse of any person.

The real danger here is that the issue of abortion will distract from the important issues being addressed by the DAB.

There is a bet­ter story

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There have been more than 9 million abortions since 1968

More abortion is the very last thing our nation needs. As we reflect on in this piece, since the 1967 Abortion Act first came into effect, more than 9 milllion abortions have taken place.

The DAB should be used to do what it is intended to do, which is address the very real issue of domestic abuse and violence across England and Wales.

In our view, to use the DAB to change abortion laws in England and Wales would be an inappropriate and morally wrong path to go down.

We believe there is a better way than abortion – a way that truly supports women in unplanned pregnancies, defends those who are vulnerable and have no voice, and is life-giving to preborn babies.
James Mildred Head of Communications


In any pregnancy, both the woman and preborn baby have inherent value and dignity, by virtue of being made in the image of God. CARE is passionately pro-woman and pro-life.

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