Therese Coffey Says She Will Not Try To Undo Abortion Laws Despite Her Personal Views

The new health secretary has previously voted against extending access to treatment.
Therese Coffey arriving in Downing Street for Liz Truss's first cabinet meeting as PM.
Therese Coffey arriving in Downing Street for Liz Truss's first cabinet meeting as PM.
Stefan Rousseau via PA Wire/PA Images

Therese Coffey has said she will not seek to undo any aspects of abortion laws, despite her personal views.

The new health secretary and deputy prime minister, who is a Catholic, voted against same-sex marriage in 2013 and extending abortion rights in Northern Ireland.

And earlier this year, in a free vote in the Commons, she opposed making at-home abortion pills, introduced during the pandemic, permanently available in England and Wales.

Asked about her stance on abortion on Sky News this morning, she said: “I’m conscious I have voted against abortion laws.

“What I will say is I’m the complete democrat and that is done, so it’s not that I’m seeking to undo any aspects of abortion laws.”

Coffey told Sky News in June that she would “prefer that people didn’t have abortions but I am not going to condemn people that do”.

And as a backbencher in 2010, Coffey introduced a parliamentary motion calling for “mental health assessments” for women seeking an abortion.

Clare Murphy, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, told the BBC: “Earlier this year, the new health secretary voted to revoke access to at-home abortion care, and recriminalise women who end their own pregnancies without the approval of two doctors.

“In doing so, Therese Coffey voted against the advice of leading medical bodies including Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives and the BMA.

“To have a health secretary who would place their personal beliefs above expert clinical guidance is deeply concerning.”


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