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and Wales throughout the years. The Secretary of State's own Department issued guidelines to every Scottish hospital saying that, for the purpose of common practice, the law as it applied in the rest of the United Kingdom would apply in Scotland as well. As far as common practice is concerned, the ILPA is effectively de facto applied in Scotland, even though de jure it is not.

No medical bodies have ever suggested that there was a need to extend the limits relating to handicaps. To permit handicap abortions up to birth would be unnecessary and barbaric, and an insult to handicapped people. If a normal baby counts as human and is protected in the last two months of pregnancy, why should not a handicapped baby be protected as well? Whatever our views on abortion, we must surely accept that a child is human at birth and must become human some time before birth. Clearly we would be saying that handicapped or disabled babies, simply because they were handicapped, were not human. Can we allow a situation in which some babies are cared for in incubators from 24 weeks or even 22 weeks, while others are deliberately killed as non-persons at any time up to birth? Before the House reaches a decision on this life-and-death matter, I plead with right hon. and hon. Members to bear in mind what it is that we are being asked to authorise if we were to reject the excellent amendment in the name of the right hon. Member for Selby. One of two methods would be used to abort such babies because they would be so well developed. From 18 weeks gestation, a baby is not a blob of jelly or a lump of tissue but a foot in length, pumping 50 pints of blood a day. Every single one of its organs is in place. Those are the facts of life and death. What we would then allow to happen would be downright barbaric.

A prostaglandin abortion, such as that which occurred at Carlisle general hospital on a baby of 21 weeks gestation, having a skin disease that was in no way life-threatening, involves the insertion of urea, a poison, which left that baby to struggle in that hospital for three solid hours before it was placed in a black sack and incinerated. That is the kind of thing that we allow even under the law as it is tonight in the case of a baby of 21 weeks gestation. What is it that we allow in the case of dilation and evacuation, which is the other method used in late abortions? The baby's skull is crushed and its spine is broken. It is removed piece by piece. From seven weeks' gestation, no anaesthetic is used. An eminent immunologist, Dr. Peter McCulloch, has said that a baby of seven weeks will be writhing in agony and can feel pain. Let people be clear what it is that they are being asked to authorise.

The right hon. Member for Selby is trying to ensure at least what was the status quo. I plead with the House to vote for that amendment, because it will safeguard the handicapped baby from 28 weeks' gestation. I plead with it also not to allow selective reduction without at least giving it further consideration. I plead with the House to look again at the question whether we should require a handicap to be notified on a form in advance of an abortion being performed. That is a perfectly common-sense proposal and one that ought to unite everyone across the divide. With those words, I am happy to support the amendment of the right hon. Member for Selby.

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Mr. Patrick Cormack (Staffordshire, South) : A number of hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson), have said that the amendment is unnecessary, and that we are covering the same ground within two months. There was a lot of confusion last time, and if the last vote is upheld, I shall regret it deeply, and believe that the House is profoundly mistaken, but at least it will have been proved that that was what the House wanted.

We are dealing with a Bill which has not accomplished its passage through Parliament. It is entirely proper and utterly right that the House should have the opportunity to speak and to vote again on this most profound and most important of issues. So let no one say that what we are doing is wrong. Let no one suggest that we are in any sense abusing the procedures of the House, because we are not. The Report stage of a Bill is designed specifically for the purpose for which we are using it tonight. I urge hon. Members to bear that in mind as they go into the Lobby.

It being Ten o'clock, Mr. Speaker proceeded, pursuant to the Order [2 April] and the Resolution [20 June], to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question put, That the amendment be made :--

The House divided : Ayes 215, Noes 229.

Division No. 254] [10 pm


Alison, Rt Hon Michael

Alton, David

Amess, David

Amos, Alan

Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)

Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)

Ashby, David

Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy

Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)

Baldry, Tony

Batiste, Spencer

Beggs, Roy

Beith, A. J.

Bell, Stuart

Bellingham, Henry

Bendall, Vivian

Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)

Benyon, W.

Blackburn, Dr John G.

Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter

Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)

Bowis, John

Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes

Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard

Brazier, Julian

Bright, Graham

Buckley, George J.

Budgen, Nicholas

Burns, Simon

Burt, Alistair

Butterfill, John

Campbell-Savours, D. N.

Canavan, Dennis

Carlisle, John, (Luton N)

Carrington, Matthew

Cash, William

Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda

Channon, Rt Hon Paul

Churchill, Mr

Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)

Conway, Derek

Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)

Cormack, Patrick

Cummings, John

Cunliffe, Lawrence

Currie, Mrs Edwina

Davis, David (Boothferry)

Day, Stephen

Devlin, Tim

Dixon, Don

Douglas, Dick

Dover, Den

Dunn, Bob

Durant, Tony

Eggar, Tim

Evennett, David

Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)

Fallon, Michael

Favell, Tony

Fearn, Ronald

Field, Frank (Birkenhead)

Fishburn, John Dudley

Fookes, Dame Janet

Fox, Sir Marcus

Franks, Cecil

Freeman, Roger

French, Douglas

Gale, Roger

Galloway, George

Garel-Jones, Tristan

Glyn, Dr Sir Alan

Goodhart, Sir Philip

Gow, Ian

Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)

Greenway, John (Ryedale)

Gregory, Conal

Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)

Grylls, Michael

Hague, William

Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)

Hanley, Jeremy

Hannam, John

Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')

Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)

Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney

Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)

Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.

Hill, James

Hind, Kenneth

Howard, Rt Hon Michael

Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)

Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)

Hughes, John (Coventry NE)

Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)

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