Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the US, the discussion has entered into British politics as Tory MP Danny Kruger sparked backlash for comments he made in response to the slashing of abortion rights across the pond. In a debate on the matter in the House of Commons Tuesday 28 June, Kruger stated that he “probably disagree[d]” with his appalled colleagues on the verdict.
The Tory MP went on to make a highly controversial opinion regarding the rights of women to their own body. Addressing pro-abortion advocates, 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.”
The comments, happening in the midst of concerns regarding the Tories’ British bill of rights (which has been labelled a worrying and “draconian” stripping back of human rights), have caused backlash across social media as people panically apprehend a repeat of US attitudes towards abortion in the UK.
As MPs tried to counter him, Kruger continued: “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 front bench is I don’t understand why we are lecturing the United States on a judgement 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.”
The UK’s Women’s Equality Party—an intersectional feminist political group—responded to the MP’s comments in a TikTok video, “Danny, babe, first of all, reproductive rights are not up for debate. Secondly, if you think a bunch of cells deserve equal rights with women then why aren’t you trying to prevent men from masturbating to protect their precious sperm cells? And thirdly, it is beyond obvious that your voice has no validity in this space.”
One Labour MP, Stella Creasy, spoke to The Guardian to caution women in the country that abortion is not yet a procedure enshrined in legal right—and will herself table an amendment to the Tory bill of rights to include reproductive rights. “Most women in the UK do not realise abortion is not a right but there is only a law giving exemption from prosecution in certain circumstances,” she told the publication. “What the US teaches us is that we cannot be complacent about entrenching those rights in law.”
Creasy expects that a free vote will be given to MPs on the debate.