First Anti-Abortion Amendment Defeated

// 31 January 2008

Abortion Rights reports that the first anti-abortion amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill has been defeated in the House of Lords. The amendment, which would have banned abortion on the grounds of severe foetal abnormality, was defeated 22 votes to 89.

It was introduced by Baroness Masham, Dowager Countess of Swinton, and a Roman Catholic convert and patron on Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology (which trains women for a life of Christian service). She votes against gay rights and for the interests of the hunting lobby. She has also said abortion on the grounds of foetal disability is discrimination against disabled people.

Baroness MashamIn the debate, in that age old style of bad debating, Baroness Masham attempted to use a specific case to prove a sweeping generalisation. She “was introduced to” (by whom we are not told) a woman (who she calls a “girl”) who was disabled (but she does not tell us the disablement) and had had a termination.

I would just like to talk about one incident. I was invited to see a girl who had had a termination in a local hospital. She happened to be disabled and I asked her why she had a termination. She said, “I wanted to see if I could get pregnant”. The baby was aborted. It was perfectly normal. The legislation of the noble Lord, Lord Steel, has now got out of control because it is being used as a convenience.


Pro-life media outlets, like the innocuously titled Medical News Today (note, do not read if you’re likely to be upset or incensed by misreporting of the medical facts) describes her campaign against abortion as “valiant”. Christian Newswire describe it as “courageous” and the start of the “embryo’s fightback”.

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