Offences Against the Person Act 1861

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:39 pm on 5th June 2018.

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Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative, Walthamstow 2:39 pm, 5th June 2018

I thank my hon. Friend for her contribution to this debate, which is much welcomed.

Let me reassure Members that, as for every other medical procedure, there are safeguards that are not in OAPA or even in the Abortion Act, but in existing medical regulation. Therefore, these safeguards would not change with decriminalisation. Indeed, the 1967 Act, which is supposed to safeguard women, says nothing about informed consent and is entirely silent on these issues. Clinicians are required by law to obtain informed consent before performing any medical procedure, or risk criminal sanction. We are asking for abortion to be subject to exactly the same medical regulations as all other procedures. By repealing these provisions in OAPA we, as the UK Parliament, can show women across the UK that we trust them with their own healthcare, wherever they live. We can also show that we trust every legislature, including in Northern Ireland, to create modern abortion laws. The crucial issue for those of us who support decriminalisation is: when can we do this? For me, that is the question for Ministers today.