Jacob Rees-Mogg has been accused of peddling a “harmful clinical falsehood” about women’s emergency contraception.
The leader of the Commons has been urged to correct the record after he wrongly suggested the morning after pill could induce an abortion.
Rees-Mogg, who opposes abortion in all circumstances, made the remarks when asked by Labour’s Diana Johnson for a debate on the funding and accessibility of women contraception services following a decision by Boots to cut the price of its pill to £10 following a public backlash.
He replied: “The right honourable lady cannot expect me to speak in favour of abortifacients”.
In a point of order this afternoon, Johnson urged Rees-Mogg to correct the record, branding his remarks a “harmful clinical falsehood”.
She cited words from the World Health Organisation that emergency contraception pills, while preventing pregnancy by halting or delaying ovulation, do not induce an abortion.
In response, deputy speaker Eleanor Laing said: “Anything that is said in the Chamber ought to be 100% correct because it is not a matter on which we should allow the people who would be affected by it to be misled.”
Johnson’s words were echoed by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), who called on Rees-Mogg to “correct the record as a matter of urgency”.
Katherine O’Brien, associate director of communications and campaigns at BPAS, told HuffPost UK: “While we highly doubt that many women would take medical guidance from Rees-Mogg, he nevertheless should correct the record as a matter of urgency.
“Emergency contraception is not, as Rees-Mogg asserted, an ‘abortifacient’.
“It prevents pregnancy, but it cannot end a pregnancy nor damage an existing pregnancy.
“If Rees-Mogg wants to reduce the numbers of women needing to undergo an abortion, he should welcome any and every opportunity to find ways to improve women’s access to contraception, not attempt to block parliamentary debates on the matter due to his ignorance or personal ideology.”
Rees-Mogg made his views on abortion clear when he was rumoured to be interested in the Tory leadership in 2017.
Then a backbencher, Rees-Mogg said he believed abortion was “morally indefensible” and that he was “completely opposed” to it in all circumstances, including in cases of incest and rape.
“Life is sacrosanct and begins at the point of conception,” he said at the time.
HuffPost UK has contacted Rees-Mogg for comment.