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The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade will strip over half of US women of their right to abortion care, expected to trigger anti-abortion laws across the country.
While the overturning of Roe v Wade relates to US law, campaigners are warning that UK abortion rights are not even safe.
As Parliament establishes the new Bill of Rights, MPs have proposed an amendment to protect access to abortion and recognise it as a human right.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab insisted however that there wasn’t a strong enough case for change.
“Roe v Wade gave American women a constitutional right to have an abortion,” Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, announced in a parliamentary debate on the US ruling. “Currently here in the UK, only women in Northern Ireland have their constitutional right to an abortion protected as a human right.”
Dominic Raab has announced however that the legality of abortion in the UK is “settled”, explaining: “It’s decided by honourable members across this House. It’s an issue of conscience. I don’t think there is a strong case for change.”
Ruling out the abortion rights amendment, Raab explained that including it in the bill could mean that abortion will end up being litigated in the courts.
Taking to social media, Stella Creasy responded: “Why is the bill of rights good enough to protect your freedom of speech but not your womb from being interfered with?”
“Most women in the UK do not realise abortion is not a right but there is only a law giving exemption from prosecution in certain circumstances,” Creasy explained in an interview with The Guardian following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade. “What the US teaches us is that we cannot be complacent about entrenching those rights in law.”
The amendment is expected to be tabled when the bill is published at second reading, which is thought to be in a matter of weeks.
We will continue to update this story.