As Members of Parliament enter the second week since returning from Summer recess, there are three items on the agenda this week of interest.
Lets take a look at what is coming up:
It seems barely a week goes by these days without abortion getting air time in Parliament. However, this time it is for good reassons.
On Friday, MPs will debate Private Member’s Bills, one of which includes a bill tabled by Fiona Bruce that seeks to exclude certain disabilities from valid reasons for abortion.
Currently the Abortion Act 1967 permits aborton in cases where the baby has disabilities. This includes minor abnormalities such as cleft lip and palete as well as club foot, things which are easily treatable post birth and which do not affect the quality of life of the child.
Fiona Bruce’s bill seeks to amend the 1967 legislation to exclude cleft lip, cleft palete and club foot as valid reasons for abortions on grounds of disability.
There have been several attempts to remove the disability reason for abortion in recent years. Most recently, Lord Skinkwin, (himself disabled) introduced several bills in the House of Lords designed to remove disability as grounds for abortion. Lord Shinkwin’s bills sought to bring disability equality to abortion legislation. In a powerful speech in October 2016 he said, “So by rights I should not be here. I should be dead. Indeed, more than that, according to the eugenic screening programme of our Department of Health, I would be better off dead because of serious handicap, to use the outdated terminology of the Act.” The bill made some progress to report stage, but timed out due to the early General Election called by Theresa May.
In an era where much of society bends over backwards for disabled people, it stands at odds that abortion legislation permits the ending of the life of a pre-born baby simply because of a percieved disability or abnormality.
Fiona Bruce’s bill is more targeted which is the right thing to do. It would introduce a limited exclusion of certain disabilities from abortion which helps to raise the profile of the evil of abortion. It is unlikely that an outright ban on abortion will come in, so steps towards it have to be taken. It is important to play the long game just as William WIlberforce did with slavery.
Sadly, due to the number of bills listed for debate on Friday, Fiona Bruce’s bill will probably not get debated, but it is nevertheless listed.
Government Department Questions
Both Foreign Office and Education department questions take place this week.
In light of the recent announcement of a peace deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, it is likely to feature as well as a number of other international topics.
As schools return from summer holidays and the extended closure due to covid restrictions, education questions are likely to be dominated by concerns around ‘safety’ for pupils and staff. However, with new sex and relationships education becoming compulsory, there may be questions surrounding that as well. As we reported last week, sex education in schools is likely to remain a live issue for some time and with news that the government has been sponsoring explicit materials targeted at children as young as 13, concerns around the new regulations are set to grow.
As ever, please remember to keep praying for MPs, Peers and Parliament as a whole. There are so many deeply important issues swirling around at present and with so many fronts to fight on it is hard to choose which battles to focus on, which is exaclty what the devil is trying to do.
- Pray MPs will not be afraid to take a stand against sex and relationships education, pray the details of what the regulations mean for children are exposed
- Pray MPs who support Israel will speak up to welcome recent peace deals during Foreign Office questions
- Pray for wisdom for Christian MPs to know what battles to fight and how to fight them, pray they will effectively prioritise all that is in their in-tray