A Conservative MP has told the House of Commons that women do not have “absolute right to bodily autonomy” in a debate about abortion, following the US Supreme Court decision to end constitutional protections for abortion by overturning its historic Roe v Wade ruling from 1973.
Following the decision from the US Supreme Court, mass protests have been sparked as thousands have lobbied for the right to access safe and legal abortions.
This is what you need to know.
Who is Danny Kruger?
Kruger is an British Conservative MP for Devizes in Wiltshire, and has been so since 2019.
He is the son of property developer Rayne Kruger and Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith.
He was born in Westminster and attended Eton College before going on to study history at the University of Edinburgh.
After finishing university, Kruger went on to work at the Centre for Policy Studies think tank before then becoming a policy adviser for the Conservative Party. In 2006, he became David Cameron’s chief speechwriter.
Kruger began his Parliamentary career in 2019 when he was selected as the Conservative candidate for the seat of Devizes. He was elected as MP for the area in the 2019 general election.
Between August and December 2019, Kruger also worked as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s political secretary.
What did Danny Kruger say?
Whilst speaking in a debate about abortion, Kruger said that he that women do not have an “absolute right to bodily autonomy”.
In the debate, which spoke of the recent decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn its historic Roe v Wade ruling, bringing an end to the constitutional right to an abortion, Kruger added that British politicians should not “lecture” the US over the move.
As a result of the decision, it is expected that abortion bans will be implemented in roughly half of US states.
A number of MPs have been critical of the US Supreme Court’s decision, including Johnson, who said that the choice marked a “step backwards” for America.
Kruger, however, told the House of Commons that he would “probably disagree” with other MPs about the decision.
He said: “They think that women have an absolute right to bodily autonomy in this matter, whereas I think in the case of abortion that right is qualified by the fact that another body is involved.”
While other MPs tried to challenge him, Kruger continued: “I would offer to members who are trying to talk me down that this is a proper topic for political debate and my point to the frontbench is I don’t understand why we are lecturing the United States on a judgement to return to power of decision over this political question to the states, to democratic decision-makers, rather than leaving it in the hands of the courts.”
Kruger was one of the 61 Conservative MPs who voted against extending abortion access in Northern Ireland in vote in June.
How has Prue Leith responded?
Krugers mother, Prue Leith, has not yet responded directly to her son’s comments on abortion.
However, in her 2012 memoir Relish: My Life on a Plate, the Great British Bake Off judge wrote candidly about undergoing an illegal back street abortion when she was younger after falling pregnant whilst in Paris.
She wrote: “Of course I lived with the constant fear of pregnancy. The only birth control available was the condom, and that meant relying on Guy.
“When I was late by a few days, I panicked. Guy took me to a friend of a friend of the cafe owner on the corner, a small silent woman at the top of a silent dark house.
“I was terrified that she would stick knitting needles up me and give me peritonitis but I was even more frightened of my parents.
“My father’s dictum that women who “did it” before marriage were sluts tortured me. Oddly it never occured to me to weigh the moral question of abortion.
“Mercifully, knitting needles did not feature. The woman gave me an injection, god knows of what, and relieved me of a fortnight’s allowance.
“And absolutely nothing happened except that, as the days passed, I felt increasingly ill with anxiety. And then, a fortnight later, presto - not for the first time, the “curse” came as a blessing.”
What has the reaction to Danny Kruger’s comments been like?
Kruger has sparked intense backlash following his comments in the House of Commons.