Offences Against the Person Act 1861

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:45 pm on 5th June 2018.

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Photo of Sarah Wollaston Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons) 3:45 pm, 5th June 2018

I should like to start by paying tribute to Stella Creasy for all the work that she has undertaken in this area, and for bringing this debate to the House. The result of the referendum in the Republic of Ireland has been a great victory for women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies, but it has also thrown a stark spotlight on the situation of women in Northern Ireland. To my mind, it cannot be acceptable that in six counties of our United Kingdom, women are forced to make long, lonely journeys across the water or forced into the hands of the unscrupulous, or that they face criminal prosecution for making decisions that should be theirs by right. I believe that it is time for this House to act to protect their rights, as well as the rights of those everywhere else in the United Kingdom.