As Laura pointed out earlier today, we’ve won this latest battle on choice, but this is no time to rest on our laurels.
We were on the defensive – and the one amendment which could have shifted the ground in favour of the pro-choice majority, ending the requirement for two doctors to sign off on an abortion, was withdrawn (although apparently for quite sensible tactical reasons).
One thing you can do is check how your MP voted – I’m going to be writing a miffed letter to my MP, Simon Hughes, about his decision to vote in favour of cutting the time limit to 20 and 22 weeks, and you might want to do the same. If your MP was one of the 304 who voted in favour of women’s rights every time, perhaps they would like an email or letter of support?
You can find out how your MP voted at The Public Whip – because the vote was only yesterday, it should be easy to find (be careful in how you interpret the results though, as they are presented in terms of rebelling from party lines, etc). Alternatively look for your MP on this list – ‘aye’ means they voted to curtain abortion access to 22-weeks.
You will also find some interesting statistics on how the vote divided along party lines. These are the figures for the attempt to cut the limit to 22 weeks, which came closest to succeeding:
As you can see, only 27 current Conservative MPs support keeping the 24 week limit, compared to 237 Labour MPs. That is massively worrying, because if the Tories get in at the next election, it’s going to be much harder to hold the line. The Liberal Democrats are nearly split down the middle.