Backlash against MP who defends unborn children

What happened?

An MP who defends unborn children has been made Tory vice-chair for women. Maria Caulfield, who is MP for Lewes, was appointed to the position in Theresa May’s reshuffle. Caulfield opposed a bill last year which would have decriminalised abortion. She said at the time: “Too often today, debates about abortion – about the risks involved and the rights of the unborn child – are shut down”, and that she and others wanted to be “a voice for the voiceless”.

What the media said

Media coverage was dominated by the reaction of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the country’s biggest abortion provider, which said it was “incredibly disappointed”, since Caulfield “supports the criminalisation of women who end their own pregnancies”. The BBC’s headline read “MP’s new women’s role sparks backlash”.

But gave Caulfield the chance to defend herself. “When as a legislator I am concerned that a change in the law will adversely affect vulnerable women or babies that are female,” she wrote, “then absolutely I have a right to speak out about this.” The MP said that the current law results in very few prosecutions, but does protect women “who might be pressurised by an abusive partner or family member to have an abortion”.

What pro-life groups said

A spokeswoman for Life charity said: “We believe that Ms Caulfield’s background, coming from a council estate, makes her well qualified to understand and identify with the issues and challenges that many women face, especially those thousands of vulnerable women we support at Life. We are not surprised at the intimidatory response from the abortion industry.”

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