Friday, February 14, 2020

Reported back

The Abortion Legislation Committee has reported back on the Abortion Legislation Bill and recommended that it be passed with some amendments. Unfortunately, the latter include even more hoops to jump through for those seeking abortions after 20 weeks, including a time-wasting requirement to consult a second doctor. No-one casually seeks an abortion that late, but those whose circumstances change or who discover an unforeseen medical problem will still have to endure the wagging finger of society over what is a basic medical decision. The committee has also strengthened the ability of "conscientious objectors" to obstruct the process and waste people's time, and explicitly allowed them to do so to victims of sexual violence. And that's just a bit shit IMHO.

I expect there will be a lot of amendments offered on this bill at the committee stage. Hopefully we'll see some MPs put up amendments to create the liberal regime the Law Commission recommended, rather than the worst option that the government chose (which has then been made worse by the select committee process). This bill was passed by a huge majority, and hopefully there's a majority within that for a far better law than the bullshit compromise the government is offering. And otherwise, well, this is still a massive improvement on the status quo, but it still stinks that reform has been watered down like this.