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Abortion a significant factor in Glasgow East by-election, says Alive and Kicking.

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Abortion was a significant factor in yesterday’s narrow win for the SNP in the Glasgow East by-election, the Alive and Kicking Alliance has said. A massive 22% swing against Labour resulted in a 365 vote win to the SNP and the loss of Labour’s 25th strongest seat.

Alliance spokesperson Julia Millington said, ‘The swing against Labour in this by-election was much larger than expected from opinion polls suggesting that factors other than Gordon Brown’s unpopularity and the ecnonomy were playing a part. It is particularly noteworthy that in a constituency where a third of voters are Catholic, the candidate who won, John Mason, was well known to be the only one of the four main party candidates who supported a lowering of the upper limit for abortion.’

‘Whilst the election is further evidence of widespread disaffection with the government, the prolife vote in this by-election was nonetheless significant and almost certainly swung the final vote in favour of the SNP. We are entering a new era in politics where abortion will be a significant election issue.’

Alive and Kicking wrote to Westminster MPs earlier this week with the results of a Comres survey carried out immediately after Parliament rejected a lowering of the 24 week upper limit on 20 May. The poll showed that most British adults (and 55% of women) believed Parliament was wrong to overlook the opportunity provided at 2nd Reading to reduce the 24-week upper limit. In the same poll, 66% of adults (71% of women) said they believed that by 20 weeks’ gestation, a healthy unborn baby had a right to life equal to that of its mother. Two out of three people (69% of women) believed that, since Parliament declined to reduce the upper limit at 2nd Reading, it should not liberalise further but rather tighten up the rules on early abortion to discourage so many abortions from taking place each year.

In addition, more than four in ten adults (43%) agreed with the statement ‘I would be more inclined to vote for a party that commits itself to a reduction in the 24-week upper limit’. This included 47% of women and 57% of adults aged 18-24.

The government had earlier postponed the report stage of the HFE Bill to the autumn on 10th July after backbench MPs had tabled amendments calling for the law on abortion to be liberalized even further.

Alive and Kicking said at the time that the government had been unnerved by the heavy defeat at Crewe (which came a day after the move to block lowering the 24 week upper limit for abortion in May) and wanted to avoid alienating public opinion further in the run up to another worrying by-election in Glasgow East.

‘Alive and Kicking is not party political and will support any MPs who support our aims. There are many marginal seats nationally, across the political divide, and government MPs are particularly vulnerable. We will continue to ensure the votes of our million supporters count positively in forthcoming elections. Abortion is an issue we care passionately about, as any civilized society should.’

Further information for Editors:

Alive & Kicking commissioned ComRes to survey 1006 GB adults by telephone on 21st – 22nd May 2008. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Alive and Kicking is seeking a substantial reduction of the 24-week upper limit for the abortion of healthy babies; an end to the discriminatory provision allowing abortion of disabled babies up to birth; and an informed consent law requiring doctors to provide comprehensive evidence-based information on the risks associated with abortion and the availability of positives alternatives for those needing help.

Alive and Kicking Alliance includes CARE, CCFON, Christian Medical Fellowship, CORE, Evangelical Alliance, Guild of Catholic Doctors, Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, LIFE, Maranatha, Prolife Alliance, Real Choice, Student Life Net.

Alive & Kicking Campaign
PO Box 50835
London SW3 2YE
Telephone: 020 7584 7186


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