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It being more than three hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Bill, The Temporary Chairman put forthwith the Questions necessary for disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour, pursuant to Order [12 May].

Amendment proposed: No. 12, page 9, line 10, after ‘parenting’, insert


The Committee divided: Ayes 222, Noes 290.
Division No. 198]
[6.59 pm



AYES


Alexander, Danny
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Battle, rh John
Bell, Sir Stuart
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benton, Mr. Joe
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Breed, Mr. Colin
Brokenshire, James
Browning, Angela
Burnham, rh Andy
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Alistair
Cameron, rh Mr. David
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Crausby, Mr. David
Cunningham, Tony
Curry, rh Mr. David
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Drew, Mr. David
Duddridge, James
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain

Dunne, Mr. Philip
Durkan, Mark
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Field, Mr. Mark
Fisher, Mark
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Grogan, Mr. John
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harris, Mr. Tom
Havard, Mr. Dai
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hoey, Kate
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Horam, Mr. John
Horwood, Martin
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Kelly, rh Ruth
Key, Robert
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Mackinlay, Andrew
Maclean, rh David
MacNeil, Mr. Angus
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Marris, Rob
Mates, rh Mr. Michael
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCrea, Dr. William
McDonnell, Dr. Alasdair
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGrady, Mr. Eddie
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Meale, Mr. Alan
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mudie, Mr. George
Mundell, David
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Ottaway, Richard
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Penning, Mike
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Pritchard, Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, Mrs. Iris
Rowen, Paul
Roy, Mr. Frank
Russell, Bob
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Short, rh Clare
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, David
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Smith, Geraldine
Snelgrove, Anne
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Mr. Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Stewart, Ian
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Swayne, Mr. Desmond

Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Taylor, Matthew
Thurso, John
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Twigg, Derek
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Vaz, rh Keith
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Ward, Claire
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Willott, Jenny
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Wilson, Sammy
Wood, Mike
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. David Burrowes and
David Taylor
NOES


Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Anderson, Mr. David
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Balls, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Baron, Mr. John
Barrett, John
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, rh Hilary
Bercow, John
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brake, Tom
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Annette
Brown, rh Mr. Gordon
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burt, Lorely
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clegg, rh Mr. Nick
Clelland, Mr. David
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, rh Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Davey, Mr. Edward
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dowd, Jim
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Featherstone, Lynne
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, rh Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
George, Andrew
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Linda
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Helen
Greening, Justine
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hancock, Mr. Mike

Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harvey, Nick
Healey, John
Hemming, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Herbert, Nick
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Holmes, Paul
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Hosie, Stewart
Howarth, David
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hughes, rh Beverley
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Ingram, rh Mr. Adam
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Ann
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Knight, Jim
Kramer, Susan
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lamb, Norman
Lammy, Mr. David
Lazarowicz, Mark
Leech, Mr. John
Lepper, David
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Lucas, Ian
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Martlew, Mr. Eric
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonnell, John
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Merron, Gillian
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moore, Mr. Michael
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Mountford, Kali
Munn, Meg
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Osborne, Mr. George
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penrose, John
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Rennie, Willie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, Angus
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rogerson, Dan
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Salmond, rh Mr. Alex
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, Sir Robert
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis

Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Swinson, Jo
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Teather, Sarah
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Todd, Mr. Mark
Tredinnick, David
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Ussher, Kitty
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Weir, Mr. Mike
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Wills, Mr. Michael
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Wishart, Pete
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Noes:

Alison Seabeck and
Mr. Michael Foster
Question accordingly negatived.
20 May 2008 : Column 219

20 May 2008 : Column 220

20 May 2008 : Column 221

20 May 2008 : Column 222

Clauses 14 and 23 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause 1


Amendment of the law relating to abortion

‘In section 1(1)(a) of the Abortion Act 1967 (c. 87) (medical termination of pregnancy), for “twenty-fourth week” substitute “twelfth week”.’.— [Mr. Leigh.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con): I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. Roger Gale): With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: New clause 2— Amendment of the law relating to abortion (No. 2)—

‘In section 1(1)(a) of the Abortion Act 1967 (c. 87) (medical termination of pregnancy), for “twenty-fourth week” substitute “fourteenth week”.’.

New clause 3— Amendment of the law relating to abortion (No. 3)—

‘In section 1(1)(a) of the Abortion Act 1967 (c. 87) (medical termination of pregnancy), for “twenty-fourth week” substitute “sixteenth week”.’.

New clause 4— Amendment of the law relating to abortion (No. 4)—

‘In section 1(1)(a) of the Abortion Act 1967 (c. 87) (medical termination of pregnancy), for “twenty-fourth week” substitute “eighteenth week”.’.

New clause 5— Amendment of the law relating to abortion (No. 5)—

‘In section 1(1)(a) of the Abortion Act 1967 (c. 87) (medical termination of pregnancy), for “twenty-fourth week” substitute “twentieth week”.’.

New clause 6— Medical termination of pregnancy: Amendment of the Abortion Act 1967—

‘(1) Section 1 of the Abortion Act 1967 (c.87) (medical termination of pregnancy) is amended as follows—

(a) in subsection (1), omit paragraph (d),

(b) after subsection (2), insert—


20 May 2008 : Column 223

“(2A) No treatment for the termination of pregnancy shall be carried out under subsection (1) of this section on the grounds of the disability, gender, race or (should it become identifiable before birth) sexual orientation of the child.”.

(2) In section 5 of that Act (supplementary provisions) omit subsection (2)(a).’.

New clause 7— Amendment of the law relating to abortion (No. 6)—

‘After section 2 of the Abortion Act 1967 (c.87) insert—

“2A Informed Consent

(1) Subsections (2), (3) and (4) of this section shall not apply in the case of a medical emergency under section 1(4) of this Act.

(2) At an appointment with a registered medical practitioner, on receipt of an initial request for a termination of pregnancy from a pregnant woman, or for initial advice regarding the potential termination of a pregnancy, a registered medical practitioner shall, as soon as reasonably practical, and in any event at least five calendar days prior to a termination of pregnancy taking place (where such a termination of pregnancy is applicable), fulfil the following informed consent requirements—

(a) offer the pregnant woman counselling from a suitably qualified health professional; and

(b) provide the pregnant woman with the following information:—

(i) the embryonic and foetal development at two weekly intervals;

(ii) the physical, psychological and psychiatric risks associated with the termination of pregnancy, including a description of the methods of termination at different stages of pregnancy and any risks associated with such methods; and

(iii) the contact details of adoption services and other sources of help and advice, (including information on any disability or abnormality that the pregnant woman’s embryo or foetus is at risk of suffering from if born).

(3) A registered medical practitioner must provide the pregnant woman with a written form, of which he must retain a copy, as soon as is reasonably practicable, certifying the date upon which paragraphs (2)(a) and (2)(b) of this section were complied with, and in the case of a termination of the pregnancy, the form must be completed prior to any such termination.

(4) Any persons who wilfully contravenes or fails to comply with the requirements of informed consent under subsections (2) or (3) of this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

(5) The Secretary of State shall by statutory instrument make regulations to provide for informed consent as specified in subsections (1) to (4) of this section and shall make provisions concerning the procedure, the requirement for date certification by a practitioner or practitioners, the information requirements and any other ancillary matters as are necessary to ensure the fulfilment of the informed consent requirements.

(6) Any statutory instrument made by virtue of this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution by either House of Parliament.”’.

New clause 8— Foetal physical or mental abnormalities: Information and counselling—

‘After section 1 of the Abortion Act 1967 (c. 87) (Medical termination of pregnancy) insert—

“1A (1) If tests of a foetus reveal that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped, a registered medical practitioner or a suitably qualified health professional expeditiously shall provide the pregnant woman with—

(a) current, scientific information in a written form concerning:


20 May 2008 : Column 224

(i) the life expectancy of;

(ii) the expected intellectual and functional development of; and

(iii) the treatment options for;

a foetus diagnosed with, or a child born with, the physical or mental abnormalities identified as a risk by those tests,

(b) contact details for, where available, supportive service providers, including telephone help lines specific to the physical or mental abnormalities identified as a risk by those tests, and

(c) the offer of a suitable opportunity to receive relevant counselling and such other information as they deem proper.

(2) If, subsequent to the receipt of test results referred to under subsection (1), the pregnant woman notifies a registered medical practitioner that she is considering terminating the pregnancy, either wholly or partly as a result of those test results, then the termination must not take place until the information and offer set out in subsections (1)(a) to (c) have been provided.’.

New clause 9— Amendment of the law relating to abortion (No. 7)—

‘In section 1(1)(a) of the Abortion Act 1967 (c. 87) (medical termination of pregnancy), for “twenty-fourth week” substitute “twenty-second week”.’.

New clause 11— Amendment of the law relating to abortion (No. 9)—

‘In section 1(1)(a) of the Abortion Act 1967 Abortion Act for “its twenty-fourth” week”, substitute “23 weeks and 6 days”.’.

Mr. Leigh: Mr. Gale— [Interruption.]

The Temporary Chairman: Order. Will Members who are leaving the Chamber do so quietly, please?

Mr. Leigh: Mr. Gale, it is an honour to open this debate. The only reason why new clause 1 is being considered first, and I am speaking to it, is that we wanted to give the Committee a chance to vote on all the new clauses in ascending numerical order at 10 o’clock; that, I think, is best and most convenient for the Committee.

My new clause 1 will limit social abortions to those carried out before 12 weeks’ gestation. In Europe, the most common position is for abortions to take place before 12 weeks. The new clause would not affect some 89 per cent. of abortions.

The minds of most people in the Chamber will be made up. We each know where we stand, according to our conscience. We know when we think life begins, and whether we think it begins at conception or not. That is probably true of the so-called strongly pro-choice or pro-life people. For many of us, there are strong points of principle involved. Later in the debate, we will come on to the detail of the issue of when people think that an unborn child is viable. I hope that the Committee will forgive me if I spend a few moments setting out the principles that motivate us.


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