The New Minister For Women Has Terrifying Views On Abortion

We’ve taken a look at Maria Caulfield’s voting record and there’s a lot to be concerned about…

Maria Caulfield

by Lydia Spencer-Elliott |
Published on

As soon as it was announced that Rishi Sunak had made Maria Caulfield the new Minister for Women, concern erupted online: ‘This is possibly one of the most serious appointments to date,’ wrote one horrified user on Twitter. ‘Remember Roe v Wade and the fear that issues could spread to the UK – well the Minister for Women gives no reassurance whatsoever.’

Caulfield’s voting record is nothing short of terrifying. The trained nurse and  Conservative MP for Lewes backed cutting the 24-week abortion time limit, voted against legalising abortion in Northern Ireland and, this month, opposed the introduction of buffer zones outside abortion clinics designed to protect women from harassment by anti-abortion protestors.

Caulfield, who has been an officer in the all-party parliamentary ‘pro-life’ group, has previously come under fire for spreading misinformation after she claimed babies who are born at 18 weeks could ‘grow up to live long, healthy lives like the rest of us’.

She also incorrectly denied there are prosecutions for women who end abortions without consent from two doctors when in fact, concerningly, under a law passed in 1861, any woman across the UK who ends a pregnancy without legal authorisation from two doctors can face life in jail.

Later acknowledging the punishment, Caulfield warned her colleagues in the House of Commons to be ‘wary of greater liberalisation’ and claimed the rule protected vulnerable women. However, many charities quickly pointed out abortion should be entirely decriminalised to give women full control over their bodies—not mandated by the justice system.

Reacting to the news of Caulfield’s new role as Minister For Women, shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Anneliese Dodds said: ‘[It is] deeply troubling that Rishi Sunak has appointed a Minister for Women who supports limiting women's rights to abortion. The government must be clear that a woman's right to a safe and legal abortion is not under threat.’

Meanwhile, the director of the Centre for Women’s Justice, Harriet Wistrich, told the Guardian: ‘We are horrified that a clear opponent of abortion rights has been appointed minister for women. The vast majority of women want the right to choose.

‘Her appointment signals a potential restriction on women’s reproductive rights, which in turn is an attack on women’s autonomy and freedom. We hope Maria Caulfield will keep her personal opinions on the issue of abortion to herself.’

Maria Caulfield is yet to make a statement on the projects she plans to complete in her new position as Minister for Women, but with her regressive views on the right to choose and her historic lack of support for those wishing to terminate pregnancies, women have every right to be furious that Maria Caulfield is now the politician who has been selected to represent them.

This Is How Maria Caulfield voted on other key issues:

Climate change: Maria Caulfield has almost always voted against measures to prevent climate change (see her full voting record on environmental issues here).

Assisted dying: Maria Caulfield voted against allowing terminally ill people to be given assistance to end their life in 2015.

Education: In 2016, Maria Caulfield voted not to not to take the opportunity to oppose further increases in university tuition fees.

Scotland: Maria Caulfield has almost always voted against transferring more powers to the Scottish Parliament.

Income tax: Maria Caulfield has generally voted for raising the threshold at which people start paying income tax.

You can find her full voting record here.

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