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Labour confirms conscience vote on parents' rights

Judith Collins MP National Party Families Spokeswoman

30 September 2004

Labour confirms conscience vote on parents' rights

National Party Families spokeswoman Judith Collins is delighted that David Benson-Pope has this afternoon confirmed that Labour MPs will be allowed to cast a conscience vote on her amendment to the Care of Children Bill.

"On radio this afternoon, Mr Benson-Pope finally confirmed that 'it was always a conscience vote' for Labour MPs."

Ms Collins is seeking to amend the Care of Children Bill, making parental notification mandatory for abortions where the girl is under the age of sixteen. The girl would still be able to object to parental notification by way of a judicial opt-out clause.

"Up until now the position of Labour has been unclear, especially given the Prime Minister's opposition to the law change.

"I now expect a number of Government MPs will vote in favour of this change, which aims to protect vulnerable young girls and restore parents' rights.

"I do hope the Beehive resists the temptation to interfere in the independent decision making process of Labour MPs.

"The Government still insists that the current law is working even though a girl aged between 11 and 14 gets an abortion every four days in this country.

"And I find it concerning that Mr Benson-Pope continues to describe girls as young as 11 as 'women', when most would question whether they are mature enough to deal with these complex feelings and emotions on their own.

"Having said that, I do consider today's announcement by Mr Benson-Pope a step in the right direction, and I look forward to support from a number of his colleagues," says Ms Collins.

ENDS


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