Tuesday, March 14, 2017

England and Wales to decriminalise abortion?

Abortion law is back in the news, thanks to Bill English's claim that our 40-year old law, which criminalises abortion and effectively requires women to declare themselves mentally ill to access a basic medical procedure, has "stood the test of time". But looking overseas, it seems that not everyone thinks that. England and Wales have a near-identical law, which is a decade older. And there, MP's have just voted to decriminalise abortion:

MPs have voted to decriminalise abortion in England and Wales.

MPs have backed a bill by 172 votes in favour, versus 142 against.

The bill, which was introduced as a Ten-Minute rule bill, will now go to a second reading on 24th March, before it can be passed into law.

There are other stages too, and the majority for change is only 10% of the number of MP's who didn't bother to turn up (again, England's "democracy" is broken), but its a good start, and a good sign that change is coming. And England isn't even a particularly fast mover on this - the Australian state of Victoria completely reformed its abortion regime nearly a decade ago. We should follow suit.