UK Green Party supports decriminalisation of abortion

At its autumn conference, members of the UK Green Party voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion proposed by Sarah Cope, the party’s Women’s Spokesperson, who said:“The Green party believes that no woman should face imprisonment for ending a pregnancy. A Green government would ensure that abortion be removed from the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act and instead governed by the same robust regulatory and ethical frameworks as all other medical procedures. As abortion is a devolved issue in Scotland and Northern Ireland, it is intended that this policy would apply to England and Wales.”Cope told the conference: “The Green Party already has an excellent and progressive abortion policy… However, what we do not address in our current policy is that the 1967 Abortion Act, which did not extend to Northern Ireland, did not get rid of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act or decriminalise abortion, but instead carved out therapeutic exemptions to the OAPA (and equivalent common law in Scotland) and allowed abortion where women and doctors met certain requirements.”This piece of Victorian legislation is still in force today. In line with the punitive values of mid-Victorian Britain, it calls for one of the harshest penalties for unlawful abortion imposed by any country in Europe.”No other medical procedure in the country is governed by legislation this old, or this out-of-step with clinical developments and the moral thinking of the modern world.“Incredibly, women still get prosecuted and imprisoned due to this out of date legislation. Furthermore, the threat of prosecution that is unique to abortion deters many doctors from wanting to enter this fundamental area of women’s health care.”SOURCE:, 5 September 2016 + PHOTO