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Over half of the British public oppose MPs plans to decriminalise abortion

8 April 2024
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In a recent survey, more than half of the British public have expressed opposition to proposals in Parliament that could see the decriminalisation of abortion.

Exclusive polling revealed that 55% of respondents believe terminating a pregnancy after the 24-week limit, when the baby is healthy, should remain illegal. Only 16% supported changing the law, while 29% were undecided or chose not to express their opinion.

The survey, which involved 2,011 adults, found that a higher percentage of women than men, 57% compared to 54%, think abortion after this period should still be considered a criminal act.

Furthermore, 71% of participants felt that a year-long imprisonment for a woman who underwent an abortion at 32-34 weeks was justified or even lenient, with just 20% deeming it excessive.

The debate comes as Parliament prepares to consider amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill, potentially altering abortion legislation for the first time in over three decades.

One amendment, championed by Labour MP Diana Johnson, seeks to stop women from being prosecuted for terminating pregnancies past the 24-week mark, garnering the support of 35 MPs across various parties.

This amendment would align England and Wales with Northern Ireland's stance where abortion was decriminalised in 2019.

Conversely, an amendment proposed by Conservative MP Caroline Ansell aims to reduce the legal time frame for abortion from 24 to 22 weeks, citing improved survival rates for very premature infants.

This proposition has attracted 36 MPs' support and aligns with public and female majority preferences for lowering the time limit to 20 weeks or below.

Critics of decriminalisation warn it could lead to an increase in late-term abortions without legal repercussions.

Co-chair of the New Conservatives group of MPs, Miriam Cates says decriminalisation would “remove any consequence” for a pregnant woman who decided to terminate their baby after the current 24-week limit.

“Of course, women who face unwanted late-term pregnancies should be offered help and support, but in a civilised and compassionate society we must not change the law to remove all rights and value from an unborn baby just a few weeks or days before birth,” said Ms Cates.

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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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