Poll: Over half of adults oppose decriminalisation of abortion

The majority of the public oppose attempts to decriminalise abortion up to birth in England and Wales.

Of 2,011 adults surveyed by Whitestone Insight, 55 per cent agreed that abortion should remain illegal after 24 weeks. Only 16 per cent supported decriminalisation, while 29 per cent did not answer.

Labour MP Dame Diana Johnson has tabled an amendment to the Government’s Criminal Justice Bill that would allow a woman to take abortion pills up to birth, for any reason, without risk of sanction. Her colleague Stella Creasy has also pushed for a “lock” to make abortion a human right.

Sex-selective abortion

Right to Life UK spokeswoman Catherine Robinson said: “The extreme change to the law proposed by Diana Johnson would remove current offences that prevent women from performing their own abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

“This would allow healthy babies to be aborted for any reason, including sex-selective purposes, right up to birth. It would likely lead to a tragic increase in the number of babies’ lives being ended through late-term abortions performed at home, as well as the lives of many more women being endangered.”

She concluded: “This extreme and radical abortion law has no place in the UK. This polling clearly shows that the public do not support this change to the law. We are calling on MPs to reject Johnson’s amendment.”


Writing in The Daily Telegraph, journalist Isabel Oakeshott said the “utter trauma” of suffering four successive miscarriages changed her view on abortion law forever.

She said: “What horrifies me is that any parliamentarian should want to decriminalise the fatal poisoning or dismemberment of unborn babies that are so well developed that they could survive outside the womb.

“No amount of sugar coating this can remove the repellent reality of what – if the law is changed in the way certain MPs want – could end up happening.”

Although Oakeshott still supports abortion in certain circumstances, she called for the abortion limit to be reduced from 24 to 22 weeks because it is when a “premature baby can survive”.


Last month, over 100,000 people signed a petition urging the Prime Minister to do everything in his power to reduce Britain’s abortion time limit.

Supported by a group of MPs, the petition was delivered to Number 10 by parents of children who were born at 22 and 23 weeks’ gestation.

Right to Life UK, which organised the petition, is calling on parliamentarians to vote for MP Caroline Ansell’s amendment to the Government’s Criminal Justice Bill which would reduce the abortion limit in England and Wales from 24 weeks – set in 1990 – to 22 weeks.

Also see:

Hand of baby and adult

Woman in Limerick suffers ‘life-threatening’ complication after taking abortion pills

‘Buffer zones pose threat to religious freedom’, pro-lifers warn MSPs

Arizona Supreme Court upholds law protecting ‘countless’ lives from abortion

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