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A member of British Prime Minister Liz Truss’ cabinet has come under fire for her record of anti-abortion statements and votes.
Thérèse Coffey, a Catholic who has served as a Member of Parliament and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, was appointed September 7 as Secretary for Health and Social Care.
Truss, who previously served as Foreign Minister, became Prime Minister on September 6 after winning a race to lead Britain’s Conservative Party following the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It turned out to be Queen Elizabeth II’s last public act to receive Truss at Balmoral Castle in Scotland and ask her to form a government. Truss was the late Queen’s 15th prime minister in her 70-year reign.
In addition to naming Coffey as Health Secretary, she also appointed her Deputy Prime Minister, making her the first woman to serve in that role.
Coffey was campaign manager for Truss in the Parliamentary stages of the 2022 Conservative Party leadership election.
Almost immediately after Coffey accepted the position of Health Secretary, a pro-abortion organization accused her of allowing her “personal beliefs” to influence public policy.
“To have a health secretary who would place their personal beliefs above expert clinical guidance is deeply concerning,” Clare Murphy, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), told the BBC. What matters is whether such a government official’s “personal convictions stand in the way of women’s ability to act on their own,” Murphy said.
According to Catherine Robinson, spokesperson for Right To Life UK, BPAS is “the UK’s largest abortion provider.”
Coffey voted recently against making abortion pills — introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic — permanently available for at-home use in England and Wales, according to the BBC. Her vote was in the minority, but Murphy accused her of voting “against the advice of leading medical bodies including Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Royal College of Midwives and the BMA.”
According to Catholic News Agency, Coffey has “long described herself as a practicing Catholic.”
BPAS’s Murphy said that Great Britain needs a health secretary “who wants to improve access to a medical procedure that one in three women will need in their lifetime, not impose further restrictions.” But Coffey said that as health secretary, she would focus on “what the vast majority of people use the NHS” for, what she termed A,B,C, and D: ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists.