©2018 by Foreign Policy Press

Hunt's Abortion Proclamation: Really?

June 10, 2019

In the midst of the Conservative Leadership Election, Jason Montaner offers his take on a declaration made by one of the front-runners.

 

The contest to become the new leader of the UK's Conservative Party has begun and candidates have been vying to impress their fellow MPs and the Conservative membership in order to reach Number 10.

 

The two leading candidates, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson, have been doing numerous interviews in an attempt to convey their policy ideas and wider vision for Britain to the public in this short electoral timeframe. 

 

In that time, there have been numerous policy declarations that are worthy of investigation and criticism. Johnson's tax cut has been panned by the Office of Budget Responsibility as it will benefit the wealthy and increased public debt dramatically. Rory Stewart's idea of a citizen's assembly to thrash out a Brexit solution would make for a nice response in a university tutorial, but would do little other than increase polarisation in the real world. 

 

However, there was one revelation that I believe deserves greater scrutiny.

 

 

In an interview on Monday, Hunt reaffirmed how he would like to see the legal limit to abortion cut from 24 weeks to 12. 

 

He went on to clarify that it would not be government policy to bring a vote on such a matter and that if another MP were to ask for a vote, it would not be whipped by the government. 

 

Hunt is respected in his party. After overseeing a successful Olympic games in London as the Minister for the Olympics and serving as Health Secretary for six years, he has garnered the political and intellectual respect of his colleagues and much of the Conservative membership. 

 

However, how does one of the front-runners to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom still hold such a regressive, illiberal view on a woman's right to control her reproductive health? 

 

A woman should have the exclusive right to control what her body does. When she gets pregnant. If she wants to stay pregnant. This archaic and worrying proclamation from Hunt goes to show the Conservative Party still has a long way to go in recognising that a woman's right to choose should not be infringed upon by slashing the current legal limit for abortions in half. 

 

The United Kingdom leads the world, along with many of its allies in Western Europe, on social issues and gender equality. How is it that in 2019, we may elect a new PM who rejects the very idea of a woman's right to choose, and in doing so, sends a message to the country and the wider world that we are not the forward-looking, progressive country we proclaim to be.

 

Author: Jason Montaner 

Jason is a UK-based political journalist specialising in domestic affairs and foreign policy.

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