Perhaps Alton learnt something from his failed compromising?
"What, then, is Harteâ€™s theme? Simply that restrictive abortion legislation, i.e. legislation that attempts to restrict abortion to certain time limits and categories in order to save some lives, is intrinsically unjust. This means that it can never be licit to support it or vote for it. Such an idea seems preposterous at first sight: surely, the pro-life argument runs, it is right and therefore necessary to try to mitigate the effects of abortion law if you cannot repeal it altogether.
This was certainly the thinking behind David Altonâ€™s Abortion (Amendment) Bill of 1987, which argued for an upper time limit on abortions (18 weeks) while conceding to the pro-abortion opposition that some categories, for instance disabled children and those conceived after incest or rape, could be excluded from this time limit. At the time Ann Widdicombe MP described Altonâ€™s proposed Bill as â€˜wise, just, humane and civilisedâ€™. In retrospect, such a description seems extraordinary. As Harte explains in his patient, scholarly and courteous way, there can be nothing wise, just, humane or civilised in a countryâ€™s law which does not protect the lives of its most vulnerable citizens. "