A Conservative MP said he does not believe women have “an absolute right to bodily autonomy” during a debate over the US Supreme Court’s overturning of the Roe v Wade judgment.
Danny Kruger, MP for Devizes, told the Commons the matter was “a proper topic for political debate” and that British politicians shouldn’t “lecture” their US counterparts.
It comes just days after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 legal ruling that enshrined the right to an abortion for millions of American women. The move is expected to see the procedure outlawed in many US states and has sparked international condemnation, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling it “a step backwards”.
During a debate on the issue in the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Kruger said he would “probably disagree” with his parliamentary colleagues on the ruling.
He said: “They think that women have an absolute right to bodily autonomy in this matter, whereas I think in the case of abortion that right is qualified by the fact that another body is involved.”
As MPs tried to speak over him, Mr Kruger went on: “I would offer to members who are trying to talk me down that this is a proper topic for political debate… my point to the frontbench is I don’t understand why we are lecturing the United States on a judgment to return the power of decision over this political question to the states, to democratic decision-makers, rather than leaving it in the hands of the courts.”
Mr Kruger is the son of Bake Off judge Prue Leith, who has previously opened up about the harrowing experience of having an illegal abortion.
Responding to his remarks, Labour MP for Walthamstow Stella Creasy said abortion was “fundamentally for many of us a human rights issue”.
She added: “Currently in the UK, only women in Northern Ireland have their constitutional right to an abortion protected as a human right, but we can change that and that is what this place and this urgent question can do today”.
Conservative former minister Jackie Doyle-Price said the UK needs to “lead by example” and reform its own abortion laws to ensure they are in the interest of women’s health.