While We’re All (Understandably) Distracted, Nadine Dorries Is Talking About Reducing The Abortion Cut-Off

Dorries says Britain's abortion limit is 'too high'

Nadine Dorries

by Samuel Fishwick |

As the final act of Boris Johnson’s premiership plays out and Carrie hurriedly steams No 10’s pricey Lulu Lyttle wallpaper off, Nadine Dorries is having another normal one.

Breaking off from puffing up the doomed Big Dog, the Johnson family's biggest cheerleader let rip on a subject close to her heart: abortion.

Nadine, a former nurse, told Times Radio that the 24-week rule — the cut-off point for when the majority of women can have an abortion — was ‘too high’, suggesting that ‘20 weeks is where it should be’. That’s a whole month that she wants to nix.

The culture secretary insists she is 'absolutely, utterly, unequivocally pro-choice', and that she would not push for the rules to be changed — adding that ‘any woman who wants an abortion should just be able to have one’. But her record speaks for itself.

In 2008, she spearheaded the biggest challenge to women’s rights in two decades, the infamous 20 Reasons For 20 Weeks campaign, a long and contentious list of reasons for a reduction in the time limit on abortion supported by The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph, and voted yes on bills introduced to reduce the abortion limit to 22, 20, 16 and 12 weeks. What’s more, although she has since said that she is pro-choice, in a 2008 interview with The Guardian’s Kira Cochrane she said that ‘I think what I would like to see is the European average of 13 week’.

Granted, opinions can shift. In the Times Radio interview to be broadcast tomorrow, the culture secretary added that she said she did not agree with the views of Danny Kruger, her Tory colleague, who suggested that women did not have ‘an absolute right to bodily autonomy’ when it came to abortion.

‘I think abortion for women should be available on demand, no need for two doctors’ signatures, that they should just be, if that’s the decision they want to make, they should be trusted to make that decision,’ she said.

But read between the lines. Attacks on abortion rights are gaining traction. They say that when America sneezes, the world catches a cold – and a chill wind is blowing through the corridors of power here too. Lawmakers are aware of more evidence in the latest census for England and Wales, published last week, that Britain’s birth rate is declining, raising the likelihood of a dwindling population supporting a rapidly ageing one (a Sunday Times piece suggested we should tax the childless).

The world may be watching Boris Johnson's time in No 10 go up in flames, but don’t sleep on what’s happening in the shadows.

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