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Life and death in focus

Last month, a truly awful abortion amendment was withdrawn from the UK Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Its intention was to legalise abortion to birth for any reason in England and Wales.

Politics analysed James Mildred
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Had it succeeded, the door would have been opened to sex-selective abortion and ever-increasing numbers of abortions. In a context where 200,000 abortions took place in England and Wales last year alone and where 9.5 million have taken place since 1967, the situation could hardly be made worse. I’d love to tell you that the amendment was withdrawn because of a growing concern in Parliament about the abortion lobby. The truth, I suspect, is more complex. Tacking an amendment that would have resulted in major social change onto another Bill is a sure-fire way of irking colleagues in the Commons. The MP who tabled the amendment, Diana Johnson, herself claimed it was only a ‘probing amendment’ and she never planned to push it to a vote. At the same time, it was encouraging to see and hear stories of how Christians did their bit – writing to our MPs and engaging with the issue clearly had an impact. Anecdotally I’ve been told that MPs received more than 71,000 emails and letters. For anyone who has been used to being rebuffed by their MP in recent times, it is surely an encouraging reminder to keep going. Sometimes our efforts at lobbying do help to make a difference.