Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised for comparing morning after pill to abortion

Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised for comparing morning after pill to abortion
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Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has been accused of spreading a "harmful clinical falsehood" about the morning after pill.

Commons leader Rees-Mogg described the emergency contraceptive as an “abortifacient”, a term describing drugs that induce abortion.

But his remarks were criticised as a “harmful clinical falsehood”, with an MP calling for Mr Rees-Mogg to correct the record.

It follows Boots cutting the price of the morning after pill from £15.99 to £10.99.

Yesterday, the North East Somerset MP was asked for a debate on “proper funding and accessibility for women’s contraception and health services”, after Labour MP Dame Diana Johnson highlighted the “sexist surcharge” of high prices some pharmacies charge for the morning after pill.

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Rees-Mogg, a practising Catholic, replied: “The right honourable lady cannot expect me to speak in favour of abortifacients.”

Rees-Mogg has made his views on abortion very clear in the past. In 2017, he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he was “completely opposed” to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.

But the morning after pill is considered to be a contraceptive medicine because it prevents conception, rather than a method of aborting a pregnancy.

People took to Twitter to express their disappointment in the Commons leader:

Following his comment, Dame Diana asked for him to correct the record on his claims.

She told MPs: “The World Health Organisation say that emergency contraception pills prevent pregnancy by prevention or delaying of ovulation and they do not induce an abortion.

“Emergency contraception cannot interrupt an established pregnancy or harm a developing embryo.

“How can I ensure that the Leader of the House corrects the record, as what he said I think is a harmful clinical falsehood and I am sure does not represent the Government’s policy?”

Deputy speaker Dame Eleanor Laing acknowledged that there is a “factual inaccuracy” in Rees-Mogg’s claim, and added that “the facts ought to be straight”.

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