Claim Labour's 2019 manifesto called for 'abortion on demand to birth' is False 3

Claim Labour’s 2019 manifesto called for ‘abortion on demand to birth’ is False

Former Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who now sits as an independent, has criticised the party for its stance on abortion. 

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), the MP for North West Leicestershire said he would “always stand up for the rights of the unborn”, and made a claim about the Labour Party’s policy on abortion. 

Abortion on demand to birth was in Labour’s 2019 manifesto, I stood up and publicly attacked it, but the Conservative Party didn’t want to.

Andrew Bridgen MP

Ferret Fact Service looked at this claim and found it False.

Ferret Fact Service | Scotland's impartial fact check project


Andrew Bridgen sits as an independent MP, having lost the Conservative party whip in early 2023 after comments where he appeared to compare the Covid-19 vaccine rollout to the Holocaust. 

Sharing a video opposing current legislation on abortion passing through parliament, Bridgen claimed Labour had included “abortion on demand to birth” in its 2019 manifesto.

The party’s 2019 manifesto was written while Jeremy Corbyn was still leader of the party, and contained two references to abortion. 

The first, in a section on justice, said: “We will uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions”. The second reference is in a part of the manifesto relating to Northern Ireland, and states that “Women in Northern Ireland should have access to abortions in Northern Ireland.”

There is no reference in the document to either abortion on demand or that it should be allowed any time up to birth. 

Labour MP Stella Creasy said in November 2019 that her party was planning to remove Victorian abortion legislation that meant women breaching abortion laws, such as buying illegal abortion pills online, could face a life sentence in prison. 

Abortion in the UK is generally legal before 24 weeks, and in very limited circumstances beyond that. In Scotland, the law is devolved but currently remains in line with UK legislation laid out in the amended Abortion Act 1967

In order to get an abortion, the law states that it must be performed by a doctor, and authorised by two doctors. There are various grounds under which abortion can be granted, notably that it would endanger the “physical or mental health” of the mother. 

In an interview with the Independent newspaper, Creasy said: “Decriminalisation means that women would have the same equal rights over their bodies that men have because if you take away the criminal element of the law you can have a fully medical procedure where their consent matters and where medical need- not the threat of prosecution- can be upheld,” she continued.

However, at no point did the party advocate for abortion until birth, and it did not feature in the manifesto, nor in the party’s 2017 or 2015 manifesto. 

Ferret Fact Service verdict: False

Andrew Bridgen’s claim that the Labour Party included “Abortion on demand to birth” in its 2019 manifesto is incorrect. The party aimed to repeal laws which gave significant punishments for women who broke abortion laws. 

This claim is false

Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is a non-partisan fact checker, and signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles.

All the sources used in our checks are publicly available and the FFS fact-checking methodology can be viewed here.

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Photo credit: David Woolfall, CC BY 3.0 DEED

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