Female MPs spoke out powerfully last night against weakening protections for unborn children, as the Government continues to face pressure to back abortion in Northern Ireland.
Fiona Bruce, Maria Caulfield and Emma Little-Pengelly all challenged supporters of abortion during a three-hour House of Commons debate.
Stella Creasy – who put forward the motion – advocated repealing two sections of the Offences Against the Person Act.
In her speech Creasy promoted abortion giant BPAS before using its slogan on introducing abortion for any reason, up to birth.
Claiming abortion was an issue of ‘equality’, she said it should be treated merely as a medical procedure.
Creasy admitted her proposals would impact England and Wales as well as Northern Ireland – although the Province would be most noticeably affected.
Responding for the Government, Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley said Westminster should not seek to impose abortion.
“Abortion has been a devolved matter in Northern Ireland since it was created in 1921, and it would not be appropriate for Westminster to seek to impose its will, or to be the arbiter of an issue that has long been devolved to the people of Northern Ireland.”
Fiona Bruce said she believed the unborn child “has an equal place to be considered” before noting that those leading the debate want to further liberalise Great Britain’s already highly permissive abortion laws.
MP for Lewes Maria Caulfield also warned that the debate was being used as a “Trojan horse” for further liberalisation.
And she highlighted the already large discrepancy between Britain’s 24-week abortion limit and the 12-week limit across much of Europe.
Emma Little-Pengelly, who represents Belfast South, warned the effect of campaigners’ plans could be to dramatically limit protections for the unborn.
The debate concluded without a vote, although if MPs had taken that step the result would not have bound the Government to act.
A recent poll found 72 per cent of Conservative MPs who were asked said London should not undermine devolution by forcing abortion on Northern Ireland. Just nine per cent disagreed.