I support women’s right to access abortion on demand without limit and without being forced to ask permission from a doctor. Access to abortion, contraception, and the right to choose are a fundamental part of the women’s liberation movement. Without these rights, women cannot and will not be free from patriarchal control.
I am very concerned about the provisions in the new serious crime bill as it criminalises pregnant women for being trapped in a patriarchal, woman-hating society. I signed this petition because any attempt to limit women’s reproductive choices – and a limit that involves criminal law – do nothing to change the system. It just replicates what already exists. The last thing women who are feeling pressured into have a sex-selective abortion need is the added fear of criminal prosecution.
Women must have the right to choose.
On the 23 February the Serious Crime Bill will be debated in Parliament. It includes a last minute amendment to the bill which specifically criminalises sex selective abortion.
We are deeply concerned that this amendment would have an immediate negative impact on women’s access to abortion and is a first step towards further regressive legislation to limit abortion access.
Please sign this petition to ask UK MPs to vote against this amendment and to make the case that their colleagues do the same. If enough people contact their MP they will be more likely to attend the vote and block this dangerous bill from passing.
There are many problems with the amendment. It will:
do nothing to address the causes of boy-preference in some communities
do nothing to stop sex selective practices
set the scene for an attack on abortion rights as a whole, by undermining key principles that underpin the 1967 Abortion Act
lead to racial profiling of people from communities assumed to be ‘at risk’ of sex selection
undermine the doctor patient relationship and patient confidentiality, and will have a chilling effect on doctors who will be less willing to refer for or provide abortion
potentially criminalise women, reducing the likelihood that a woman who is under pressure to have an abortion for sex selective reasons will disclose it to a professional and seek the support she needs.
The consequences of this bill in terms of the threat to abortion law and access in the UK can hardly be considered unintended, as the bill author, Fiona Bruce, is an anti-abortion campaigner.
The amendment also makes no exception for sex-linked genetic disorders.
There are complex reasons for boy-preference in some communities. An amendment to criminalise sex selective abortion does not and cannot tackle any of these. There is no evidence that the proposed ban would prevent a single sex selective abortion.