Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, bpas, said:
“The debate today represented a huge step forward in the struggle to see abortion regulated as a healthcare - not a criminal - matter, and to ensure women across the UK can access the best possible care and support they need when faced with a pregnancy they cannot continue.
“It is clear that MPs across the House will now work towards an amendment to the Domestic Abuse bill to decriminalise consensual abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy across the UK, and we were delighted to see the Minister confirm that this would be a free vote issue. As MPs made clear today, repealing this piece of Victorian UK-wide legislation does not contravene devolution, but strengthens it. By repealing a law passed in Westminster in 1861, MPs would enable Northern Ireland itself to create an abortion framework appropriate for women’s needs in the twenty-first century. It would also allow for improvements to care in England and Wales, such as scrapping the clinically unnecessary two doctors signature requirement and enabling the provision of nurse and midwife-led services.
“We look forward to supporting this cross-party group of MPs to ensure women across the UK have choices in pregnancy, wherever they live.”