Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Abortion Amendment – statement by Harriet Harman QC MP - 06/09/1

Of course women need advice and counselling when they face an unwanted pregnancy or when something goes wrong with their pregnancy.


But we must make sure that we don't do anything which makes a woman, in circumstances which she doesn't want to be in, feel that she has less choice.  We should respect the decision where a woman has made up her mind.  Either to go ahead with the pregnancy or to end it. 


We've all argued that if there is to be an abortion it should be as early as possible.   We shouldn't be doing anything which makes abortions later.


I admire the work of BPAS, Marie Stopes, Brook Advisory and the Family Planning Association.


They are part of the movement to help women avoid unwanted pregnancy.  They have been the driving force for better contraception and better advice.  Which I, and millions of women of my generation and since are grateful for.


They have helped and supported millions of women - to avoid unwanted pregnancy and who've faced an unwanted pregnancy. They exist to help women, not to persuade them to have an abortion they don't want. 


They are charities - they don't work for profit.  Their only vested interest is to help women to avoid unwanted pregnancy and offer the choice where there is one.  They offer that choice to the woman - they don't make that choice themselves. I hate to see these highly professional organisations which have helped so many women being demonised.


This is an anti-women's right to choose amendment. I will be voting against it.


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