Conservative British Politician States that His Personal Opposition to Abortion Should Not Dictate Government Policy

Later citing “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church” in Latin to explain the source of his views, Tory Member of Parliament Jacob Rees-Mogg declared that he opposes abortion in all circumstances. This extremely conservative assertion made headlines in the United Kingdom, where such a restrictive statement had not been made by a politician since the late 1980s. Former Conservative politician Ann Widdecombe, also a Catholic, described Rees-Mogg’s views as “nothing like as rare as you may think,” highlighting the infrequency that such views are stated publicly. The declaration also caused a stir among conservative and liberal politicians in the United Kingdom, where abortion has been legal since 1967 and is generally regarded as a settled matter. Some fellow conservatives applauded him for speaking his mind, but expressed varying degrees of dissatisfaction with his comments; others directly disagreed with his statement. A spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May said, “The prime minister doesn’t happen to agree, but it is a matter of conscience.” Rees-Mogg said in the same interview that his personal beliefs on the matter would not affect state policy, adding that abortion rights in the UK were “not going to change.”

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