Dominic Raab Rejects Call For Abortion To Be Included In British Bill Of Rights

Justice secretary warns it would risk abortion access "being litigated through the courts".
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House of Commons - PA Images via Getty Images

Dominic Raab has rejected calls for the right to abortion to be enshrined in his new British Bill of Rights.

Last week the US Supreme Court removed the nationwide right for people to have an abortion when it overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling.

The decision has led to concerns about the rolling back of abortion rights in other countries.

Boris Johnson has described the court’s move as a “big step backwards”.

Speaking during PMQs on Wednesday, Labour MP Rosie Duffield said: “So far this year, 52 women have been killed in the UK.

“Our rights to free speech, safe spaces, fairness in sport and even the words we use to describe our own bodies are all under threat.

“Will the deputy prime minister send a clear signal, as some of his cabinet colleagues have done this week, that Britain respects the rights of women, and will he accept the cross-party amendment to his forthcoming Bill of Rights which enshrines a women’s right to choose in law?”

But Raab, who was standing in for Johnson as the prime minister is abroad, said such a move risked abortion rights “being litigated through the courts”.

“The position, as she knows, is settled in UK law in relation to abortion,” the deputy prime minister and justice secretary said.

“It’s decided by honourable members across this House. It’s an issue of conscience. I don’t think there is a strong case for change.

“What I wouldn’t want to do is find ourselves, with the greatest of respect, in the US position where this is being litigated through the courts rather than settled as it is now settled by honourable members in this House.”

Raab’s British Bill of Rights will work as a successor to the Human Rights Act.

It asserts that the UK Supreme Court is the ultimate decision maker on human rights issues in the UK and the country does not always have to follow case law from the European Court of Human Rights.

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