How Brexit Stopped Abortion Being Decriminalised In England And Wales

How Brexit Stopped Abortion Being Decriminalised In England And Wales

Brexit has caused countless issues like reproductive rights to be placed on the back burner as the government focuses on making sure we don’t fall off the economic cliff when we leave the EU

Liam Arnull
June 24, 2018

In England and Wales, along with the other nations of the UK, abortion remains a criminalised offence. Having evolved from Victorian laws, strict clauses are now in place to allow some abortion services (Northern Ireland is not covered by this law). But, if broken, life imprisonment can still be applied to people who have accessed/ helped facilitate an abortion outside the letter of the law. An offence still present to this very day.

This archaic setup has long been protested out of the right for people with child bearing ability to choose the destiny of their body. In 2017 this protest met part fruition for those living in England and Wales with the introduction of the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill to the Commons. The Bill set to remove the life imprisonment sentence for those that might have got caught up by the current system. Labour MP Diana Johnson commented that the current legislation holds “the harshest criminal penalty of any country in Europe, underpinned by a Victorian criminal law passed before women even had the right to vote, let alone sit in this place [The House of Commons]”.