Following the surprising yet convincing win for the Conservative party in the UK general election on May 7th, Prime Minister David Cameron has been appointing his new Government. This involves both appointing leaders for departments – “Secretaries of State” - and those working with these secretaries to appoint ministers in their department.
One such ministerial appointment is that Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, has been appointed as a “junior health minister”. His appointment has led to criticism from many because he is openly pro-life, having stated previously that he is “personally and principally opposed to abortion.” So, my challenge to such criticism is this; why are openly pro-choice MPs allowed to serve in the Department of Health, but openly pro-life MPs not?
Quite simply, this is fundamental hypocrisy. There’s no other way to describe it! Frank Dobson, Secretary of State for Health from 1997 until 1999 openly stated that he thought that it should be “easier to get an early abortion.” Alan Milburn, who held the same position from 1999-2003 made the abortifacient morning after pill available over the counter, which was not put to a vote in parliament. Alan Johnson, Secretary from 2007-2009 said that “as an individual,” he did not want to see the law changed. Where was the outcry over these politicians?
The British Pregnancy and Advisory Service (BPAS), the UK’s biggest abortion provider, states that Gummer’s views “do not reflect the views of the electorate,” correctly citing that there were a number of attempts to “introduce fresh restrictions on abortion” in the last Parliament. However, BPAS' statements from Clare Murphy (pictured below) are entirely misleading in my opinion. Like it or not (and I don't), the Conservative Party won this election outright. The electorate clearly voted that they should form a new government without the need of support from any other party. Yes, they were in power in said last Parliament but that was part of a coalition where they didn’t have such a majority. They relied on help from other parties to pass any laws.
So, there have been openly pro-choice MPs serving in the Department of Health and passing laws without a vote, which nobody complained about. One openly pro-life MP is heavily criticised for taking up such a role and asked to denounce his pro-life stance. Pro-choice organisations wrongly state that the electorate do not support such a stance.
How can pro-choice abortion providers justify this pressure on Mr Gummer?
How can large sections of the UK media justify their one sided coverage on this issue?
Quite simply, they can’t.