Rother Valley MP backs Bill to decriminalise abortion across whole of UK

Sir Kevin Barron MP
Sir Kevin Barron MP

This week in Parliament there were a number of votes regarding abortion in Northern Ireland, writes Sir Kevin Barron MP.

The Abortion Act 1967 set in law circumstances where abortion would not be illegal.

Otherwise, under the Offences Against the Person Act (OAPA) 1861, someone providing an abortion or a woman ending her own pregnancy could be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Under the 1967 Act, abortions can legally be carried out under certain circum-stances.

Except for emergency cases or on specific medical grounds, all abortions require approval by two registered medical practitioners and must be performed in registered facilities.

I believe that all women in the UK should have the right to choose a safe, legal abortion and I agree that women in Northern Ireland should have the same rights as those in the rest of the UK.

It is also my view that women across the UK should not risk prosecution for terminating a pregnancy.

I therefore support the repeal of the relevant sections of the OAPA, to decriminalise abortion across the UK.

The Bill would not seek to change the UK time limits for abortion and it would not affect the rights of medical professionals to opt out of providing abortion services.

The Bill is also intended to introduce a new offence of using violence or the threat of violence to cause a non-consensual abortion.

I can assure you that I will continue to support efforts to decriminalise abortion in all parts of the UK.