Dozens of MPs sign pledge to protect the unborn

(Photo: Unsplash/Luma Pimentel)

A pledge to protect unborn babies and end pregnancy discrimination has been signed by 80 MPs. 

The Both Lives Pledge, by the Right to Life campaign, asks MPs to support three key policy areas, the first being to stop discrimination against baby girls by supporting a change to the law clarifying that sex-selective abortion is illegal. 

The other two ask MPs to work to bring the UK upper abortion time limit closer into line with the rest of the EU - where it is 12 weeks in many member states - and to support women in the workplace by backing policies ending pregnancy and maternity discrimination. 

A study by Savanta ComRes found strong public support for these policy demands, with over two thirds of UK women (70%) backing a reduction in the upper time limit for abortion from the current 24 weeks to 20 weeks or lower. 

Over three quarters (79%) of the general population and 84% of women back more support for women who would like to keep their baby but feel under financial pressure to have an abortion. 

The vast majority of the public (89%) and nine out of 10 women (91%) support an explicit legal ban on gender-selective abortions.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: "This is the biggest response we have seen to any election campaign we have run ever.

"Since we launched the Vote For Both Lives campaign on Wednesday, tens of thousands of emails have been sent from constituents throughout the country asking them to sign the Both Lives Pledge.

"Eighty MP candidates have now signed the Both Lives Pledge making it clear that if elected they will be supporting important measures to increase protection for babies in the womb and end pregnancy discrimination for women. These are policies that will save lives by protecting and supporting both mother and child.

"It is fantastic to see such a strong response from the community and MP candidates as the UK faces what is one of the most important elections for life issues in a number of decades.

"In the next parliament, the abortion lobby will likely be back in full force, pushing to introduce new extreme abortion legislation. The Both Lives Pledge outlines three policy changes that are designed to increase protection for babies in the womb and end pregnancy discrimination for women. These are policies that will save lives by protecting and supporting both mother and child."

The Both Lives Pledge began days before abortion provider the British Pregnancy Advisory Service launched its own campaign asking MP candidates to pledge to introduce abortion on demand for any reason up to birth.

Ms Robinson said: "If this campaign was successful we would see the upper time limit completely abolished. Abortion would be available on-demand, for any reason, right through to birth. This means abortion throughout pregnancy."

She called for MPs to back "sensible" restrictions on abortion.

"MPs should be committing to bringing forward sensible new restrictions and increased support for women with unplanned pregnancies," she said.

"This would ensure we were working together as a society to reduce the tragic number of abortions that happen each year."

Both Labour and the Lib Dems have included radical abortion pledges in their party manifestos, with Labour promising complete decriminalisation, and the Lib Dems proposing to decriminalise abortion up to 24 weeks.

The publication of the party manifesto follows the deselection of former Lib Dem MP Rob Flello over his pro-life views. Mr Flello, a Catholic, backed an amendment banning sex-selective abortion and had voted in favour of giving women considering abortion a legal right to independent counselling. 

Commenting on his deselection, Christian Concern said: "This made clear that the Lib Dems will not tolerate people who in conscience cannot support the killing of the unborn."