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bpas comment on Owen Paterson MP interview on Today Programme

Responding to comments made by Owen Paterson MP on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme regarding the DUP and a potential debate on reducing the abortion time limit, a spokesperson for bpas said:

“The very idea that abortion rights could be used as a bargaining tool as part of these negotiations is deeply worrying. Owen Paterson needs to get up to speed, fast: we are a pro-choice country which supports a woman's right to choose and one where parliament recently voted for the decriminalisation of abortion up to 24 weeks.

“In Northern Ireland, where there is a near-total ban on abortion, the DUP have blocked attempts to permit terminations in cases of rape and fatal fetal anomaly, where the baby has no chance of survival outside of the womb. Their MPs in Westminster have shown a similar contempt for women’s rights. They voted against a bill to protect women from prosecution for ending a pregnancy using pills bought online, and have opposed government funding for international family planning programmes in the wake of Trump’s harmful “global gag rule.” Clearly they are completely out-of-step with not only members of the public but also members of the Conservative Party, many of whom are incredibly supportive of abortion access.

"10 MPs with quite frankly extremist views on abortion must not be allowed to threaten an area of healthcare that 1 in 3 women will need in their lifetime. More than that, they must not be allowed to block the progress women deserve. It's 50 years since our Abortion Act was passed. Our politicians should be focused on improving abortion access, including decriminalisation and NHS funding for women in Northern Ireland, not trading away our hard earned rights in a backroom deal.”

 ENDS

For more information please contact the bpas press office on press@bpas.org

About bpas:

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, bpas, is a charity which sees more than 70,000 women a year and provides reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception, at clinics across the UK. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. More information can be found at www.bpas.org