Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 69(3) August 2019
Jeremy Hunt Attacked by Extremists for “Incredibly Alarming” Abortion Views
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has stood by his "personal view" that the abortion limit should be lowered.
Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary supports lowering the abortion limit to 12 weeks.
When he launched his bid to become Prime Minister, he came under fire from abortion activists for repeating his view that the abortion limit should be lowered.
View hasn't changed
Mr Hunt said in a 2012 interview that after reviewing the evidence, he supported lowering the abortion limit to 12 weeks. Asked by Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday 9th June if that was still his position, he said: "My view hasn't changed on that and I respect the fact that other people have very different views.
"That's why these matters are always matters for free votes in the House of Commons and when they come up people vote with their conscience."
But wouldn’t be Govt policy
When pressed on whether or not he could guarantee the legal limit would stay at 24 weeks if he became Prime Minister, Mr Hunt replied: "What I can guarantee is it will be a matter for the House of Commons, not a matter for government policy.
"The prime minister will have his view just like every other one of the 650 MPs and these will be decided as a matter of conscience.
"But it won't be government policy to change the law in that respect."
Mr Hunt confirmed today that it would not be Government policy to change the abortion limit, and he has the backing of abortion supporting Amber Rudd, who said he had reassured her on the point.
However, this has not stopped him being attacked by extreme abortion advocates. Labour MP Jess Phillips, one of the key figures behind the push to decriminalise abortion and impose it on Northern Ireland, tweeted: “Jeremy Hunt how about we base this stuff on evidence and science and keep what you think is best based on no experience out of this."
Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said the foreign secretary's personal views were "incredibly alarming", while Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the leadership contest as a "horror show", which included " attacks on abortion rights".
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, one of Britain’s largest abortion providers, and whose chief executive Ann Furedi has promoted abortion up to birth and sex-selective abortion, posted a series of tweets slamming Mr Hunt’s remarks. One said that his desire to lower the time limit means “that you are okay with the fact that victims of domestic violence for whom abuse escalates in pregnancy will find it even harder to escape a violent partner.”
In fact, as is detailed in Abortion and Women’s Health, intimate partner violence is a risk factor for abortion all over the world. Decriminalising abortion, as BPAS is campaigning for, would mean there would be no obligation to question a woman on why she was seeking an abortion, meaning the opportunity to detect abuse and coercion would be lost.
The Editors of this Journal find it truly shocking that in an age of diversity and tolerance, Mr Hunt’s desire to protect the most vulnerable and disenfranchised members of our society could be used as a bar to the office of Prime Minister. Especially when several polls have shown that a majority opposes removing abortion from the criminal law, and that women in particular support more restrictions than there are at present.
We are indebted to the Society for the Protection of the Unborn child for the original version on this article.