The first clause was withdrawn after it became clear that it would not be backed by a majority of MPs.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, ruled that the second clause would not be selected for debate, deeming it “out of scope” of the Domestic Abuse Bill.
Bruce said: “I and other MPs, Members of the Pro-Life All Party Parliamentary Group, are delighted at this clear victory.”
“Thank you to everyone who wrote to their MP -- and prayed -- about the concerning amendments proposed to the Domestic Abuse Bill, which would have brought in the most significant -- and disturbing -- changes to our abortion laws in 50 years, none of which were passed by the House of Commons last night.”
“Indeed one of them, New Clause 29, was not even allowed to be debated by the Speaker: he deemed it ‘out of scope’ before the debate even began.”
Bruce, the Conservative MP for Congleton, continued: “I was very pleased that the proposer of the other -- New Clause 28 -- proposing an extension of the temporary emergency provisions for the provision of ‘at-home abortion pills’ during the current coronavirus crisis, withdrew it.”
“As the debate went on, with many strong contributions from pro-life MPs against New Clause 28, it became clear to MPs in the chamber of the House of Commons that if New Clause 28 was put to a vote the proposers of this dangerous clause risked a serious defeat.”
Bruce noted that pro-life MPs also won a commitment from the Government to review temporary measures on at-home medical abortions before it takes further action.
“It is to be hoped, and we need to ensure, that this review -- consultation -- will properly and fairly highlight safety concerns around the taking of ‘at-home abortion pills’ which have been highlighted in recent press reports,” she said.
The government announced in March that women would be allowed to perform medical abortions at home until the coronavirus crisis ends. In May, it was reported that police were investigating a case in which a mother took home abortion pills while 28 weeks pregnant, four weeks past the legal abortion time limit.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), which oversees the “pills by post” service, reportedly confirmed that it was looking into the case, along with eight others in which women were beyond the 10-week limit for medical abortions at home.
Commenting on Monday’s vote, Carla Lockhart, the Democratic Unionist Party MP for Upper Bann, told CNA: “I am delighted that the majority of MPs voted against this abhorrent legislation being implemented in GB. It shows how low the anti-life brigade will stoop to attempt to hijack a very worthy bill on domestic abuse.
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“I make no apology for being a pro-life MP, I used my maiden speech to champion this cause, and will continue to give a voice to the voiceless in this Parliament.”
Dr Helen Watt, senior research fellow at the Anscombe Bioethics Centre in Oxford, told CNA July 6 that it was “a huge relief” that neither of the two amendments were incorporated into the Domestic Abuse Bill.
She said: “For years, the abortion lobby has been pushing for home abortions, and COVID-19 provided the pretext to introduce them. Already, this temporary permission has led to on-the-ground use of abortion pills far beyond the ‘right’ gestation: in a harrowing recent case, one baby killed by home abortion was stillborn at 28 weeks.”
“It would be unconscionable to entrench permanently home abortions for genuine abuse cases, not least as abusive environments are precisely those in which coercion to abort is most likely, while such coercion is clearly harder to detect remotely.”
Watt added that women who were not being abused might be tempted to claim that they were in order to gain access to the pills.
“Checking the facts here is no easier than checking for coercion, gestational age or possible ectopic pregnancy,” she said.