Monday, October 2, 2023

UK Deputy Prime Minister rejects call to include abortion rights in new law

Mr Raab’s submission comes as Labour MP Stella Creasy announced that she would push for the right to abortion to be included in the Bill of Rights.

• June 29, 2022
Dominic Raab
UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Dominic Raab

Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has said there’s no need to establish women’s access to abortion as a human right in the proposed British Bill of Rights 

Mr Raab insisted the legality of abortion in the UK is “settled” when asked about the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday. He added the amendment could see abortion and reproductive rights being prosecuted in the courts.

Labour MP Rosie Duffield had asked Mr Raab: “Will the Deputy Prime Minister send a clear signal, as some of his Cabinet colleagues have done this week, that Britain respects the rights of women, and will he accept the cross-party amendment to his forthcoming Bill of Rights which enshrines a women’s right to choose in law?”

Mr Raab had been standing in place for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is away for attendance at a NATO summit. 

“The position, as she knows, is settled in UK law about abortion,” Mr Raab said. “I don’t think there is a strong case for change. What I wouldn’t want to do is find ourselves, with the greatest respect, in the US position where this is being litigated through the courts rather than settled as it is now settled by [MPs].”

Mr Raab’s submission comes as Labour MP Stella Creasy announced that she would push for the right to abortion to be included in the Bill of Rights. 

On Tuesday, Ms Creasy spoke in front of the UK government ministers and asked cabinet member Amanda Milling if she would support a bid to amend the proposed bill of rights to include the right to abortion “to protect a woman’s right to choose for every single woman in the United Kingdom.” 

This push for abortion rights in the UK comes after the U.S. Supreme Court last week overturned Roe v. Wade, a 50-year-old ruling, and held in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organisation that there is no U.S. constitutional right to abortion. 

Abortion services are legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy in England, Scotland and Wales under the 1967 Abortion Act, with procedures requiring approvals from two doctors.

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