Why it's vital pro-lifers make their vote count this election
Posted by Alithea Williams on 2 June 2017
In this election, perhaps more than any other, it is vital that pro-lifers make their voices heard. Here are my top reasons why it’s important to make your vote count:
Abortion is an election issue
One of the major frustrations about pro-life political activism in the UK is that it is normally seen as a non-issue – the question is so settled that politicians don’t even mention it. This has not been the case in this election. From the Labour party’s manifesto commitment to extend abortion to Northern Ireland, to Tim Farron’s flip-flopping on whether he is pro-choice or not, abortion has been brought firmly to voters’ attention. We need to capitalise on this interest and do everything we can to elect MPs who will defend life, or at the least, not weaken existing protections. That abortion is an important election issue can be seen in BPAS’ rather last minute and desperate sounding campaign to get candidates to sign up to their extreme agenda.
The next parliament could be critical for unborn babies
There is currently a frightening agenda to try to remove every legal barrier to abortion. Earlier this year, Diana Johnson MP introduced the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) bill, which sought to remove abortion from criminal law, as part of a wider campaign to allow abortion up to birth for any reason. Although the bill ran out of parliamentary time, the fact that a narrow majority of MPs voted to back it means it is very likely that certain MPs will seek to introduce a similar bill in the next parliament. This makes it vital that we have MPs to oppose such a bill.
Despite the powerful forces working to remove all protections from the unborn, there are also reasons to be optimistic that positive moves can be made in the new parliament. A new poll by ComRes found that those pushing abortion decriminalisation are completely out of touch with the general population, with only 1% of recipients supporting abortion up to birth. It also found that voters, especially women, are deeply uneasy with the current abortion law, and support a number of restrictions.
This parliament could also mark a turning point for Northern Ireland. With the future of the devolved assembly in doubt, and the possibility of direct rule, there is a real danger that abortion could be imposed on the people of Northern Ireland – which could only have negative consequences for the debate in the Republic of Ireland.
Euthanasia has not gone away
The defeat of the Marris bill in 2015, which sought to legalise assisted suicide, was a huge victory for pro-life and disability advocates. However, that does not mean the issue has gone away. There have been repeated attempts in recent years to bring in some kind of legalised euthanasia or assisted suicide in both Houses of Parliament, and it is only a matter of time before another is brought forward. There are also a number of ongoing court cases being brought forward by individuals to try to change the law on assisted suicide that way. It is critical that we elect MPs who will protect the elderly, terminally ill and disabled by opposing any move to make assisted suicide legal.
Your vote counts
One thing we know for certain about this election is that nothing is certain. Seats which are traditionally held by one party may change, as issues such as Brexit cut across traditional political lines. These factors mean that several prominent pro-life MPs are fighting to defend perilously small majorities. Conversely, there’s a chance that some anti-life MPs could lose their seats. In this election particularly, it really does matter whether or not you vote, and who you vote for. Of course, it may be that in your constituency, there really isn’t a candidate you can vote for in good conscience. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t engage – you can tell your candidates that their support for anti-life practices lost them your vote.
So what can I do?
It’s never been easier to make your vote count. SPUC has the voting records of all MPs who are standing for re-election. We also provide questionnaires and guides for you to question your candidates and you can contact us to find out what information we’ve collected already on the voting intentions of the other candidates in your constituency. You can also check out Where Do They Stand’s website, as well as BPAS’ handy list of who not to vote for.
Unborn children, the disabled and vulnerable need our help now. We cannot fail them on 8th June.