UK

Thérèse Coffey insists she won’t change abortion laws as she’s ‘a democrat’

H

ealth Secretary Thérèse Coffey has denied she will seek to change abortion laws after a charity warned her views on the issue were “deeply concerning”.

Speaking to Sky News on Wednesday morning, Ms Coffey said she was “conscious” that she had voted against abortion laws as an MP but insisted she was “a complete democrat”.

“I’m not seeking to undo any aspects of abortion law,” she added.

Ms Coffey, a practising Catholic, recently voted to revoke access to at-home abortion pills and against extending abortion rights in Northern Ireland. In June, she said she would “prefer that people didn’t have abortions” but would not “condemn people that do”.

Clare Murphy, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said Ms Coffey must not “place personal beliefs above expert clinical guidance” while in Government.

She told the BBC that the UK should be a “beacon for women’s reproductive choice” after the US Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe v Wade, which enshrined in law the right to an abortion for millions of American women.

“We need a Health Secretary who wants to improve access to a medical procedure that one in three women will need in their lifetime, not impose further restrictions,” she added.

Ms Coffey will take over the health brief amid a growing crisis in the NHS, with 6.7 million Britons waiting for routine hospital treatment and record numbers of people waiting over 12 hours to be admitted to A&E.

She told Sky News that her top four priorities for the health service were “A, B, C, D – ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists”.

In her first speech after becoming Prime Minister on Tuesday, Liz Truss identified the NHS as one of her three “early priorities” for Government.

The Standard has contacted the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for further comment.

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