Deputy PM Dominic Raab dismisses calls to enshrine fundamental right to abortion in Bill of Rights


Dominic Raab dismisses calls to enshrine fundamental right to abortion in his new Bill of Rights – in wake of Roe vs Wade row in US – as Deputy PM insists matter is already ‘settled’ in British law

  • Dominic Raab dismissed calls to include right to an abortion in his Bill of Rights
  • Deputy Prime Minister tells Commons the matter is already ‘settled’ in British law
  • MPs are planning to amend Bill of Rights in wake of Roe vs Wade row in America 

Dominic Raab today dismissed calls to give women the fundamental right to an abortion in his Bill of Rights.

The Deputy Prime Minister insisted the matter was already ‘settled’ in British law.

He also expressed fears that including provisions in new legislation could risk the issue being litigated in courts, as has happened in the US.

Mr Raab, who is also the Justice Secretary, last week unveiled a Bill of Rights as a means of replacing Labour’s 1998 Human Rights Act.

His proposed legislation does not currently mention abortion rights.

But there are now plans to add an amendment in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision to effectively end the constitutional right to an abortion in America.

Dominic Raab expressed fears that including abortion provisions in new legislation could risk the issue being litigated in courts, as has happened in the US

Dominic Raab expressed fears that including abortion provisions in new legislation could risk the issue being litigated in courts, as has happened in the US

Labour MP Stella Creasy is leading efforts to use the Bill of Rights to ensure the right to an abortion is defined as a human right in UK law

Labour MP Stella Creasy is leading efforts to use the Bill of Rights to ensure the right to an abortion is defined as a human right in UK law

The US Supreme Court's bombshell decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe vs Wade case has led to protests in America

The US Supreme Court’s bombshell decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe vs Wade case has led to protests in America

Labour MP Stella Creasy is leading efforts to use the Bill of Rights to ensure the right to an abortion is defined as a human right in UK law.

Mr Raab was asked about those plans this afternoon as he stood in for Boris Johnson, who is attending a Nato summit in Spain, at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Ms Creasy’s fellow Labour MP, Rosie Duffield, urged Mr Raab to ‘send a clear signal’ that Britain ‘respects the right of women’.

She also asked the Deputy PM to accept the cross-party amendment to the Bill of Rights in order to ‘enshrine in law a woman’s right to choose’.

But Mr Raab ruled out accepting an amendment on abortion rights.

He said in reply: ‘The position on abortion is settled in UK law and it is decided by members across the House.

‘It is an issue of conscience, and I do not think there is a strong case for change.

‘With the greatest respect, I would not want us to find ourselves in the US position, where the issue is litigated through the courts, rather than settled, as it is now settled members in this House.’

In efforts to attract support for her proposed amendment to the Bill of Rights, Ms Creasy has highlighted how ‘currently only women in Northern Ireland have protected human right to an abortion in law’.

She has vowed to table an amendment, when the Bill of Rights returns to the House of Commons for its second reading, in order to ‘guarantee this for all UK women’.

When unveiling his Bill of Rights last week, Mr Raab focussed on how the proposed legislation asserts that British courts do not always need to follow case law from the European Court of Human Rights.

He also hailed the Bill of Rights as a means to ‘reinforce freedom of speech’ by boosting freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

In response to Mr Raab’s comments at PMQs, Ms Creasy asked on Twitter: ‘Why is the Bill of Rights good enough to protect your freedom of speech but not your womb from being interfered with?’

The US Supreme Court’s bombshell decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe vs Wade case has allowed individual states to again ban or severely restrict abortion.

The PM last week branded the judges’ decision as ‘a big step backwards’, adding: ‘I’ve always believed in a woman’s right to choose and I stick to that view and that is why the UK has the laws that it does.’

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