Moves to decriminalise abortion condemned by pro-lifers

(Photo: Unsplash/Insung Yoon)

The Catholic Church and pro-life campaigners have hit out at attempts to decriminalise abortion in the UK on the back of the Domestic Abuse Bill making its way through Parliament. 

One proposed amendment seeks to repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861, which would remove abortion from criminal law, while another proposes making home abortions legal for domestic abuse victims. 

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is urging supporters to get in touch with their MPs to raise concerns about the amendments ahead of the Report Stage of the Bill commencing on 6 July.

Antonia Tully, SPUC Director of Campaigns said: "It is scandalous that a bill designed to protect women from domestic abuse is being highjacked to decriminalise abortion. Abortion is a form of domestic abuse. Many women are coerced into abortion. These amendments play straight into the hands of abusive men."

She added: "These amendments are totally toxic. If they are passed unborn children will have no legal protection under the criminal law and dangerous home abortions will put vulnerable women at greater risk from coerced abortion."

Bishop John Sherrington, the lead Catholic bishop for life issues, has also condemned the move.

"This is being presented as decriminalising abortion but it would, if carried, do far more than that," he said.

"It would result in the introduction of abortion on demand, for any reason, up until when a child is capable of being born alive, with a ceiling of 28 weeks.

"It would leave the UK with the most extreme abortion legislation in Europe, where in nearly all countries the time limit for abortion is 12 weeks.

"The majority of our fellow citizens would like to see the current 24 week limit reduced, not increased." 

He went on to raise concerns over conscientious objection as he called on pro-lifers to contact their MPs.

"This amendment would also have the effect of removing the clauses in the Abortion Act 1967 which enable medical practitioners to exercise conscientious objection in relation to abortion," he said.

"Furthermore, it would also remove the legal safeguards which currently protect women and children.

"It is not too late to act. I ask people to write to their MP urging them to oppose these amendments which would liberalise abortion."

To find out more about writing to your MP, visit