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Defending life
from conception to natural death


MP shows scan of unborn daughter in Parliament

6 July 2018

David Linden MP with a scan of his baby daughter. 

The first time a scan has been shown in Parliament?

An MP held up a scan of his unborn baby in the Commons chamber to make a point about parental leave offered to members of parliament.

A baby first

The SNP's David Linden wanted more time to debate the principle of proxy voting - where another MP votes on a colleague's behalf, for example when they are on paternity leave - so it could be voted on later. Holding the picture aloft, Mr Linden told colleagues: "This is my daughter to be born in the autumn, so I'm particularly keen to see this be put in place as soon as possible."

The debate was pulled yesterday because of two Government statements and an urgent question, but Mr Linden may have unknowingly broken new ground - SPUC's sources believe that this is the first time an ultrasound scan of an unborn child has been shown in the Commons chamber.

Rarely acknowledged

 In fact, despite the fact that abortion has been debated an unusual amount in recent months, the very mention of the unborn child is unusual enough to be noticed. During Stella Creasy's emergency debate on repealing sections of the Offences Against the Person Act (which would decriminalise abortion in England, Wales and Northern Ireland), the DUP's Sammy Wilson noted that the debate "has of course reflected the views of those who wish to control their own bodies, but what about the unborn child? That side has been lacking in most of the speeches today. What rights and protections does the state afford to unborn children?"

Shut out of debate

Mr Wilson and his colleagues did stand up for the rights of the unborn, but they were jeered and heckled for doing so. Hannah Bardell MP (SNP) stormed that for "DUP talk about unborn children being thrown in the bin or babies being disposed of, are disgusting ways to describe the choices that women have to make anywhere in the UK but particularly in Northern Ireland."

The Conservative MP Maria Caulfield was faced with similar vitriol when she defended the unborn during Diana Johnson's decriminalisation bill last year. "Too often today," she said then, "debates about abortion—about the risks involved and the rights of the unborn child—are shut down; but I, and many colleagues who share my views, will not be silenced as we seek to be a voice for the voiceless, and as we argue for more modern and humane abortion law that upholds not only the dignity and rights of women but the dignity and rights of the unborn child."

These comments meant Ms Caulfield faced a huge media outcry when she was appointed as the Conservative Vice-Chair for Women. 

Despite 50 years of legal abortion, it's taken a discussion on parental leave for MPs to be shown the image of an unborn child - perhaps they'll be less shocked when an MP dares to mention the unborn in any future abortion debate. 

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Comments (3)

  • Tanya

    11 July 2018, 10:54am

    Unborn child, correct! Not fetus! Not some cells!
    People who want children embrace the child in the womb since they see the lines on the pregnancy test and call that fetus child. They handle with care and love that child.
    But to the one who hates the child, the baby is put down to just few cells and unwanted pregnancy. Some fancy words to mask that there is a baby in the womb, to mask the responsibility and the follow up guilt. Then the word abortion. Not killing of the unborn baby but abortion, cancelling or terminating pregnancy. Again fancy words to avoid the reality. An unborn baby is not less human that anyone being born. The life starts at conception. And that unborn child has exactly the same opportunity to live just one life as anyone else.

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  • Charyn Frances Tanya

    17 July 2018, 2:24am

    Well said Tanya, I couldn't agree more!

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  • Maria McGuire

    16 July 2018, 7:53pm

    The schizophrenics society.........
    When they speak of the foetus their focus is anti life. Therefore. they play God as to who should live and who are to die. The foetus is not given dignity and is erroneously seen as the products of the womb. Dangerous ground indeed for all us who are still alive! Put euthanasia in their hands and they are nothing more than animals of prey who would kill their own species.

    How many wonderful scientists, musicians, artists, politicians, medical professors have been slaughtered! This is actually the Third World War going on internationally. WHY? Because it is big business and NOT compassion for women who have had to suffer the long term pain of a termination.

    It is not rocket science to see the social imbalances caused by abortion in the UK.

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