Skip to content

Regan King: Government funds Abortion bill architect

Printer-friendly version

It has been revealed in the past week that a £500,000 government grant was given to a Professor Sally Sheldon, to 'fundamentally re-evaluate' the 1967 Abortion Act [1]. As a result, Sheldon has claimed that nurses and midwives should be allowed to perform surgical abortions - action previously limited to doctors. The government grant and Sheldon's subsequent comments have come despite observable shifts in the public opinion on abortion and its morality. 

In 2015, The Spectator reported on ComRes and Gallup surveys in the UK and US respectively that indicated a shift towards pro-life views among young people between 18 and 24 years old [2]. The shift had been observed by campaign group Abortion Rights prior to 2013 when it held its first student conference in response to what it described as an increase in 'anti-choice activities' on UK university campuses. Sex-selective abortions, bulk signing of referral papers, hygienic malpractice, in addition to disturbing findings within Marie Stopes' clinics in the past year have contributed to this gradual shift in attitudes.

With growing skepticism over abortion's morality, it is no surprise that abortion is once more receiving Parliamentary attention with some calling for changes to the current law as expressed in the Abortion Act (1967). Sadly, these desired changes are not for the good and do not reflect the public shift in thinking. Diana Johnson's proposed Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2016-17 seeks to decriminalise all abortions and was scheduled to have its second reading in the House of Commons on 12 May 2017, but will likely not be read now given the upcoming general election.

Alongside her £500,000 grant, Prof. Sheldon, a trustee of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Britain's biggest abortion provider), has been revealed as an architect of Johnson's bill. This follows the publication in February of a British Medical Association (BMA) 'discussion document' entitled Decriminalisation of Abortion [3]. While pro-life advocates have remained skeptical of the BMA's self-professed neutrality, the document does admit that little is actually known about what decriminalisation would look like in extent and function. These admissions and their implications have not been openly made or discussed by Johnson or Sheldon in relation to the decriminalisation bill.

The BMA's acknowledgement of the extreme complexity in decriminalising abortion, does raise the question as to how Diana Johnson's bill has gained any traction in Parliament. With £500,000 being granted by the government to Prof. Sheldon for the purpose of re-evaluating the current law, the answer looks quite bleak. Sheldon's involvement with Johnson's bill certainly seems to indicate a specific agenda from many within the government to further liberalise abortion laws; it exhibits a lack of neutrality on the government's part at best. The proposed law change would perfectly coincide with the Abortion Act's upcoming 50th anniversary.

Professor Sheldon's recommendation that midwives and nurses be allowed to carry out abortions raises one particular 'rights' question. What rights, if any, will conscientiously objecting midwives and nurses have when they refuse to carry out an abortion? Coupled with the inherent evil that destroying an unborn, but very much alive child is in the first place, the lack of specific knowledge and clarity surrounding decriminalisation (acknowledged by the BMA) should reveal Sheldon and Johnson's collective proposal as the Pandora's box it really is.

What can you do?

1. Pray. Please pray for us as we consider the best response to the upcoming second reading of the Diana Johnson Bill. Pray for us as we continue being a voice for the voiceless. Pray that our government will be awakened to the horrific blight that abortion is on our society and will repent of its current course.
2. Petition. Please write to your MP and encourage a vote against Johnson's Bill should it have a second reading.
3. Provide. Please consider being used by God in furthering our work through a financial donation that will aide in our campaigning for the unborn's right to life.

[1] Prof. Sally Sheldon, "The Abortion Act: A Biography - A joint project of Kent and Edinburgh Universities" 1 May 2016 – 30 April 2018.
[2] Dan Hitchens "For me and an increasing number of young people, each abortion is a death: Disquiet about abortion is growing among 18- to 24-year-olds", in The Spectator (8 August, 2015)
[3] British Medical Association, Decriminalisation of Abortion: A discussion paper from the BMA, February, 2017


Subscribe to our emails