South Cambs MP speaks of abortion experience during Northern Ireland debate

Conservative MP Heidi Allen has spoken in the House of Commons about having an abortion.

Conservative MP Heidi Allen has spoken in the House of Commons about having an abortion. - Credit: Archant

The South Cambs MP has spoken in parliament about having an abortion, amid calls for Northern Ireland to decriminalise the procedure.

Heidi Allen has become the first MP to disclose her own termination experience at an emergency debate in the House of Commons yesterday, and became emotional while doing so.

The Conservative told the house: “I’m a modern, progressive woman in this country, I’m proud this country is my home – as a woman who believes passionately in equality, in choice and individuals’ right to determine their own destiny, as a woman elected to be the member of parliament for South Cambridgeshire in the 21st century who stood yesterday to support the member for Walthamstow’s requests for this debate because she is standing up for all the women for all the women in the UK. But, mostly because I have been there, I’m making it my business.

“The Irish referendum result spoke volumes about how people in southern Ireland felt they wanted change and they voted for it decisively. How can it be that Northern Ireland will soon be the only part of Great Britain and Ireland where terminations are to all intents and purposes outlawed. I was ill when I made the incredibly hard decision to have a termination.

“I was having seizures every day. I wasn’t even able to control my own body, let alone care for a new life. So, Mr Speaker, are you seriously telling me that in a civilised world rape, incest, or a foetus that is so sadly deformed that it could never live are not sufficent grounds for a woman to have the power to decide for herself, that she shouldn’t make that decision? No. Enough.

“Very suddenly and unexpectedly, we have a window of opportunity before us. Whether you feel that window has opened as a consequence of no functioning devolved administation in Northern Ireland or because a neighbouring referendum was so close and so relevant as to be impossible to ignore, or simply because you feel the glaring light of equality and human rights illuminating the women of Northern Ireland, this has become their moment and they will have my unequivocal support.”

Penny Mordaunt, the Minister for Women and Equalities, tweeted afterwards: “Thank you to all MPs who took part in today’s debate.

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“With authority comes responsibility. Message from NI Secretary of State today: NI should take that responsibility.

“Message from the House of Commons: if you don’t, we will. #trustwomen.”