News from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

Bishop warns of 'abortion on demand' in a proposed amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill

Bishop John Sherrington, the lead Catholic bishop for life issues said:

‘We are expecting the Report Stage of the Domestic Abuse Bill to take place in week commencing Monday 6 July. There is currently an attempt by some MPs to table an amendment to the Bill to repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861.

‘This is being presented as decriminalising abortion but it would, if carried, do far more than that. It would result in the introduction of abortion on demand, for any reason, up until when a child is capable of being born alive, with a ceiling of 28 weeks. It would leave the UK with the most extreme abortion legislation in Europe, where in nearly all countries the time limit for abortion is 12 weeks. The majority of our fellow citizens would like to see the current 24 week limit reduced, not increased.

‘This amendment would also have the effect of removing the clauses in the Abortion Act 1967 which enable medical practitioners to exercise conscientious objection in relation to abortion. Furthermore, it would also remove the legal safeguards which currently protect women and children.

‘It is not too late to act. I ask people to write to their MP urging them to oppose these amendments which would liberalise abortion.’