BPAS comment on Maria Caulfield’s appointment as Minister for Women

“We are absolutely appalled that the Prime Minister has decided to appoint as Minister for Women an MP who has consistently voted to restrict women’s rights.

Earlier this month, Maria Caulfield voted against measures to protect women seeking reproductive healthcare from harassment and intimidation at the hands of anti-abortion protesters. Our new Minister for Women also voted consistently to deny women in Northern Ireland access safe, legal abortion care in their own country.

Maria Caulfield has also led the parliamentary opposition to attempts to protect women and decriminalise abortion, and has defended the current law which threatens any woman who ends her own pregnancy without the approval of 2 doctors with life imprisonment. This is not an abstract issue. In England, two women, who endured years of police investigations, are being dragged before the Courts for seeking to end a pregnancy. That the new Minister for Women believes that women in the most complex and difficult of circumstances should face prison sentences is appalling.

Caulfield’s views are out of step with members of the public and her own parliamentary party. Our polling found majority of Conservative MPs support a woman’s right to choose, and recent amendments to establish buffer zones around clinics and secure at-home early abortion care have passed despite the opposition of MPs including Maria Caulfield. 

Maria Caulfield has previously stated that she wants to be a ‘voice for the unborn child’. It is profoundly disappointing that the Conservative Party did not think that a better choice for Minister for Women would be someone willing and able to speak up for the one in three women who will have an abortion in their lifetime, not an MP who would seek to impose a minority view on their access to healthcare.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact Katherine O’Brien, BPAS Associate Director of Campaigns and Communications, on katherine.o’brien@bpas.org or 07881 265276.

About BPAS

BPAS is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, which seeks to develop and deliver a research agenda that furthers women’s access to evidence-based reproductive healthcare, driven by an understanding of women’s perspectives and needs. You can find out more here: https://www.bpas.org/get-involved/centre-for-reproductive-research-communication/

In 2021, BPAS launched BPAS Fertility, England’s first not-for-profit fertility service, to provide ethical, evidence-based, person-centred care that supports patients. We provide a safe, high-quality, and accessible service, without profiteering from patients. Our service gives those ineligible for NHS funding an affordable option to access the care they need.