Members of Parliament will have the opportunity to vote freely on the issue of decriminalising abortion in England and Wales.

Members of Parliament will have the opportunity to vote freely on the issue of decriminalising abortion in England and Wales.

Members of Parliament are anticipated to have the opportunity for an unrestricted vote on the topic of decriminalizing abortion. This will occur when a member of the Labour party who is not a part of the government proposes an amendment that would put an end to charging women who choose to terminate their pregnancies after the 24-week cut-off.

Next month, Diana Johnson intends to propose an amendment to the Criminal Justice Act that would prevent women from being incarcerated for obtaining abortions after the designated time limit.

Members of Parliament typically have the freedom to vote without restrictions on issues related to abortion. This is because it is seen as a matter of personal beliefs, and political parties allow their members to make their own decisions on how to vote.

Johnson expressed optimism that the amendment would be approved, citing a similar successful effort in 2019-20 to decriminalize Northern Ireland.

She expressed surprise if parliament chose not to implement this in England and Wales, as it has been successfully implemented before without negative consequences. Similar actions have been taken by other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the Republic of Ireland, indicating that it is not as disastrous as some may believe.

“Another factor that could influence individuals is the increase in investigations, particularly for women being brought to trial. Police departments are also conducting more investigations, and abortion providers report receiving 50 requests for women’s medical records in the past 18 months.”

“Women who have experienced stillbirths are being subjected to scrutiny. In rare cases where women choose to have late-term abortions, they are often in dire situations, such as being victims of human trafficking, underage, or in an abusive relationship. It is questionable whether involving the legal system is the appropriate approach to addressing this issue.”

According to a survey conducted by the Times, it seems that most Members of Parliament support the idea of making abortion legal, with 55% opposing the prosecution of women, 23% in favor, and the remaining unsure.

In England, abortions require the consent of two doctors and must be done within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. Deliberately ending a pregnancy is considered illegal and can result in a maximum sentence of life imprisonment under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. Abortions after 10 weeks are performed in a hospital or clinic.

In 2019, approximately 100 women were under investigation for having abortions. In 2023, there was a public outcry when Carla Foster, a mother of three, was imprisoned for terminating her pregnancy after the legally allowed time limit during a lockdown.

Initially, she received a 28-month sentence but it was later reduced to a suspended 14-month sentence after an appeal. The judge in the court of appeal stated that she required “compassion, not punishment”. She confessed to unlawfully obtaining an abortion when she was 32 to 34 weeks pregnant.

Bethany Cox, a resident of Teesside, was acquitted of the identical accusation. However, three additional women who have been accused of performing unlawful abortions are expected to make court appearances later this year.

Bypass the advertisement for the newsletter.

Since 2022, there have been six cases where women have faced legal action and numerous investigations for terminating their pregnancies in ways that do not meet the legal criteria for abortion. This is a significant increase compared to the previous two decades, where only three women were prosecuted.

During an interview with the Telegraph, Victoria Atkins, the health secretary, expressed her support for decriminalisation. She stated that her previous voting record, which includes support for decriminalisation and buffer zones for abortion clinics, speaks for itself.

The RCOG recently advised that healthcare professionals should refrain from reporting potential illegal abortions to the police, as it is not in the best interest of the public.

During a January discussion, Dr. Ranee Thakar, the head of the professional organization, stated that archaic abortion laws put women at risk for being subject to criminal scrutiny.

She stated that professionals were under “unacceptable and unjustified scrutiny,” and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) warned that revealing confidential patient information without consent could result in disciplinary action by professional organizations.