Jeremy Hunt, who is hoping to become the leader of our country, has said the time limit on abortions should be cut from 24 weeks to 12 weeks.
I long for the day men will stop trying to control what women do with their bodies.
The Foreign Secretary first shared his stance on the topic in 2012, after then-Women’s Minister Maria Miller called for a 20-week limit, the BBC report.
Today, Hunt appeared on the Sky News talk show Sophy Ridge on Sunday, where the host asked if he stood by the former comments he’d made about the amount of time in which abortions can be legally carried out.
Previously on an issue I know many people feel very strongly about, abortion, you have said that you would like to see the legal time limit for abortion being reduced from 24 weeks to 12 weeks, is that still your view?
In response, Hunt said:
Well, these are matters of conscience. Yes, my view hasn’t changed on that. I respect the fact that other people have very different views, and that’s why these matters are always matters for free votes in the House of Commons, and when they come up people vote with their conscience.
The Foreign Secretary is hoping to become leader of the Conservative party following Theresa May’s recent resignation as prime minister and in true political form Hunt remained evasive when asked if the current 24 week policy would remain if he became the new occupant of 10 Downing Street.
Rather than giving a direct yes or no answer, the 52-year-old responded:
This will be a matter for the House of Commons, not a matter for government policy. The prime minister will have his view, just like every other 650 MPs, who will vote on it as a matter of conscience, but it won’t be government policy to change the law.
— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) June 9, 2019
Hunt’s comments have been described as ‘alarming’ by Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine, who said the suggestion was an attack on women’s rights.
According to The Guardian, she said:
It is incredibly alarming to see the former health secretary and a candidate in the race to be the next prime minister hold such a view.
Rather than attacking the women’s rights we already have in some parts of the UK, the Tories should be fighting for them to be equal in Northern Ireland.
Did this one say he was a feminist, it's hard to keep up with whose on drugs and who pretends to care about women. Jeremy Hunt how about we base this stuff on evidence and science and keep what you think is best based on no experience out of this. https://t.co/QJMLOkFYLW
— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) June 9, 2019
The UK’s Abortion Act 1967, which allows for lawful abortions across Great Britain up to 24 weeks into pregnancy, was never applied in Northern Ireland, meaning terminations are currently illegal in all but exceptional medical or mental health circumstances.
It’s utterly ridiculous Hunt is suggesting the restriction on a topic so unrelated to himself; he needs to consider the women it would actually affect.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.