A woman’s right to choose whether or not to have a child is a precious one and one that must be defended.

However, society rightly expects abortion to be tightly regulated. When parliament last debated the issue, I voted for a reduction in the upper time limit at which an abortion can be carried out. This was based on science, not on ideology: if it is established that a child born after 24 weeks’ gestation can survive outside the womb, then the point at which an abortion can be performed must surely be at a “safe” point before then. That’s why I supported a drop in the current 24-week limit to 20 weeks (and when that amendment was defeated, I voted for a 22-week limit, which was also defeated).

If and when the issue returnes to the Commons, I intend to vote the same way.

I strongly believe that abortion law must continue to be decided on a UK basis and not be devolved; we must avoid a situation where different time limits north and south of the border result in women travelling to from Scotland to England (or vice versa) in order to be treated.

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