MPs have voted to decriminalise abortion in England and Wales

Yes, only just today…

(Image credit: Rex)

Yes, only just today…

You may think that abortions were decriminalised in England and Wales long ago, with the Abortion Act passed in 1976, but you would be mistaken.

While the Abortion Act made terminations legal, it also ruled it dependent on having two doctors approve the procedure, as well as proving that a list of predetermined criteria had been met.

People have long been campaigning for abortion to be decriminalised, with the women who do not meet the conditions technically considered to be committing a criminal offence when they have an abortion.

The debate was brought to the House of Commons by Labour MP, Diana Johnson, calling for the act to be decriminalised, and with 172 votes in favour of the bill, opposed to the 142 against it, the act has been passed.

While women across the country are hailing this bill a success, it is important to remember that it only applies to England and Wales, with Northern Ireland still deeming abortion illegal, even in the cases of rape.

As she addressed her fellow MPs, Diana announced, ‘There is no other medical procedure in this country that is governed by legislation this old, this out of step with medical developments and public attitudes’.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.