Stephens and Le Tocq have introduced several amendments to the draft law. Among these are amendments to ensure there is no discrimination on the basis of disability; to ensure that diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality shall not include non-fatal conditions such as Down syndrome or cleft palate; to require that mothers affirm they consent to the abortion and have not been coerced; and to strengthen conscientious objection for medical professionals.
Le Tocq and another deputy, Andrea Dudley-Owen, have introduced amendments to change the time limit to 22 rather than 24 weeks; allow foetal pain relief after 18 weeks; and to offer counselling before and after an abortion.
Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, the diocese which includes Guernsey, urged Catholics earlier this month to resist the "fundamentally detestable" efforts to liberalize the island's abortion law.
In a June 7 message he argued the proposed changes would violate the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" and the injunction "Love thy neighbor as thyself", which formed the basis of laws in civilized societies.
"This is why abortion and the current proposal to 'modernize' -- that is, to increase -- its availability in Guernsey is fundamentally detestable," he said. "Under the bogus word 'modernization,' an attempt is being made to further liberalize abortion, to make it a lot easier and a lot more common."
Egan said: "They want to allow abortions much later in pregnancy, abortions to be carried out with less red tape, abortions to take place at home and outside hospitals, and, grimly, abortions right up to birth for a disabled child, a child unwell, or a child with Downs syndrome. How must a person with Downs syndrome feel about this?"
"They refer to abortion euphemistically as a 'procedure,' a 'termination' with help from 'the professionals.' But what procedure can justify any professional terminating the life of an innocent baby? The more you see what an abortion is, the more you can see it is anti-life, anti-human and anti-woman."
He added: "This is why I am appealing to all of you and to everyone of good will in Guernsey to resist and to face down these sinister proposals coming before the legislature. The post-COVID lockdown is not the right time to ram through legislation like this, not without a full, open and frank consultation and debate."
In a joint letter, John P. Ogier, pastor of Spurgeon Baptist Church, and Fr. Bruce Barnes, the Catholic Dean of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, also criticized the timing of the debate.
They wrote: "We believe this is an entirely inappropriate time to be considering such a sensitive and morally important issue, in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic and with such a truncated timescale for public debate and consideration."