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Maria Caulfield: MP's new women's role sparks backlash

Maria Caulfield: MP's new women's role sparks backlash
From BBC - January 8, 2018

Equality and abortion rights campaigners have criticised Theresa May's decision to appoint an MP who opposed the decriminalisation of abortion to a role representing women.

Maria Caulfield is now vice chair for women, but has said decriminalisation would lead to "abortion on demand".

Abortion provider BPAS said the PM's decision was incredibly disappointing.

The Women's Equality Party leader Sophie Walker said Ms Caulfield could "never advocate effectively" for women.

The BBC has contacted Ms Caulfield - the MP for Lewes and a former nurse - for a response.

Currently, women in England and Wales have to prove to two medical professionals that carrying on with the pregnancy is detrimental to their health or wellbeing, before having a termination.

Without permission, abortion remains a criminal offence under the 1967 Abortion Act.

In March last year, a Ten Minute Rule Bill called for changes to the law, to prevent the prosecution of women who end their own pregnancies without permission.

The proposed changes would have meant women who, for example, order abortion pills online and self-administer them would not risk prosecution.

However, Ms Caulfield spoke out against the bill saying the idea would leave young women less safe and "embolden" men who force women into abortion.

She said it would become a "charter for extreme abortion practices", including sex-selective abortion, and would fuel "unethical and unsafe" procedures.

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