January 16, 2020
Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey has supported stricter limits on abortion.
Rebecca Long-Bailey Personally Supported Stricter Abortion Rules
Long-Bailey told Catholic priests during the election campaign she would make sure their “views are heard” when it came to any changes to the law.
Under current rules it is possible to have an abortion up to 23 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy.
But there is no time limit on when an abortion may take place if there is evidence of a fatal foetal abnormality or a significant risk to the life of the mother if she continues with the pregnancy.
Long-Bailey said: “It is currently legal to terminate a pregnancy up to full-term on the grounds of disability while the upper limit is 24 weeks if there is no disability. I personally do not agree with this position.”
The shadow business secretary said she agreed with the Disability Rights Commission that “the context in which parents choose whether to have a child should be one in which disability and non-disability are valued equally.”
Long-Bailey, who is Catholic, was answering a series of questions put to parliamentary candidates in Manchester by priests at Salford cathedral. Her comments were first reported on Thursday by Red Roar.
But spokesperson for Long-Bailey said Red Roar had highlighted her comments “to propagate a misleading narrative”.
“Rebecca unequivocally supports a woman’s right to choose and has only ever voted in favour of extending the right to abortion, such as in Northern Ireland.
“These responses have been selectively quoted by the fake news peddlers at the Red Roar to propagate a misleading narrative.
“Rebecca’s response to the Deanery of Salford clarified the existing law and current Labour policy, stating that abortion procedures should be properly regulated, and that women’s reproductive rights and the decriminalisation of abortion should be maintained.
“Rebecca’s response was also a reflection of her own personal agreement with the Disability Rights Commission — that ”the context in which parents choose whether to have a child should be one in which disability and non-disability are valued equally” — rather than her view on policy.
“During any proposed public consultation a wide range of views would of course be heard, and it is Rebecca’s duty as an MP to ensure her constituents are able to respond.”
The MP for Salford and Eccles said while she would “never contemplate abortion” herself she had “tried to understand the agonising decisions many feel forced to make and what support they would need”.
She added: “My main concerns are about the lack of support, guidance and the lengths many may feel forced to go to.”
Long-Bailey told the priests: “Labour would propose a wide public consultation on the detail of new laws and regulations and of course I will play my part in that discussion in ensuring that your views are heard.”
She voted in favour of decriminalising abortion in Northern Ireland when MPs voted on it in 2019.
Labour’s 2019 manifesto pledged to “uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions”.
Long-Bailey appears to have clawed back ground on her leadership rival Keir Starmer, after the first poll of Labour members put him narrowly ahead.
According to a survey by Survation, Long-Bailey would win 42% of first preference votes to the shadow Brexit secretary’s 37%.
The pollsters asked readers of Labour List for their preferences and then weighted the results to reflect the membership.
The poll indicates that the five-candidate contest is wide open, with Long-Bailey, who is backed by senior figures on the left of the party, including shadow chancellor John McDonnell, looking most popular with signed-up members.Related... Why The Labour Leadership Race Just Got Very Interesting
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