Katy Clark

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Katy Clark was the Labour MP for North Ayrshire and Arran from 2005 until she lost the seat at the 2015 general election.

Abortion

Katy Clark is a pro-choice advocate.

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Katy Clark voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks in line with the scientific and medical consensus[1].

Earlier in the month Clark had asked the Parliamentary question "What the survival rate of premature babies born before 24 weeks was in each of the last three years?" The short debate that followed allowed Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, to state that "The British Association of Perinatal Medicine, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists issued a joint statement in April stating that there is no evidence of a significant improvement in the survival of pre-term infants below 24 weeks gestation in the UK in the past 18 years."[2][3]

The same month Clark signed Early Day Motion 1598: 24-Week Abortion Time Limit[4]. The motion "notes the findings of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's recent report Scientific Developments relating to the Abortion Act 1967, and its conclusion that below 24 weeks they 'have seen no good evidence to suggest that the foetal viability has improved significantly since the abortion time-limit was last set, and seen some good evidence to suggest that it has not'".

In April 2010 Katy Clark replied to an amended list of survey questions:

Q: Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?
A: I believe the current scientific and medical consensus should be taken into account when deciding on abortion time limits. I am a supporter of a "woman’s right to choose".

Prior to the 2014 Scottish Labour deputy leadership election, Ms Clark was contacted by Abortion Rights Committee Scotland in regards to her views on abortion. In her reply she stated:

I support the right to choose. The first abortion rights campaign I was involved in was the Alton Bill campaign when I was involved in the group in Aberdeen and attended meetings in Glasgow, a lobby and march at Westminster and I have been involved in a number of campaigns since including recent attempts to restrict abortion rights by reducing the number of weeks. I also have supported extending the Act to Northern Ireland. In the 21st century all women should have the right to a clean and safe abortion, free of charge and without fear of prosecution. It is important that the law safeguards this right. I therefore believe it is right that we look at areas where current legislation places unnecessary barriers on a woman’s right to choose, such as requiring two doctors’ signatures, and look at how these can be removed at the earliest opportunity.[5]

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Katy Clark voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to have genetically related children who would not inherit the disease[6]. An October 2014 briefing report by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe[7]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[8]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

Creationism

Clark signed Early Day Motion 2708 calling for schools to treat with caution creationist literature sent by the religious group 'Truth in Science'.[9]

In April 2010 Katy Clark replied to an amended list of survey questions:

Q: Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?
A: I do not believe that schools should be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution.

Animal Testing

In April 2010 Katy Clark replied to an amended list of survey questions:

Q: Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?
A: I have reservations about some of the experiments using animals which take place in the UK and this is a matter I have raised questions on in parliament in the past. I believe there are cases whereby such testing is a necessary part in the development of medicines but looking into alternatives to animal testing is something I would support if re-elected.

Health

In April 2010 Katy Clark replied to an amended list of survey questions:

Q: Given the recommendations of the recent Science and Technology Committee Evidence Check (please see http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/45/4502.htm) do you support the use of public funds to provide disproven health products such as homeopathy?
A: I believe it is essential that all treatment provided by the National Health Service should be offered on the basis of the best evidence scientific available. This should be the case for both homeopathic and more traditional forms of treatment and I would be extremely concerned if treatments being were being offered where there were only limited or anecdotal evidence of success available.

Protection of the title of Doctor

In June 2009 Ms Clark signed Early Day Motion 1635, a call for the protection of the title of doctor to avoid confusion caused by the use of the term doctor by practitioners of complementary medicine. [10]

MMR Vaccine

Katy Clark signed the February 2009 Early Day Motion 754: MMR Vaccine and the Media supporting the use of the MMR vaccine. The motion expressed disappointment with the reporting of the vaccine by Jeni Barnett on her LBC radio show in January 2009, and expressed the hope that future reporting of the issue of MMR would be less sensationalist and more evidence-based.[11]

Religion

Katy Clark signed the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1770 supporting freedom of religion and welcoming the launch of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain[12].

In 2007 Clark proposed both EDM 1382: Women in Iran[13], and EDM 1917: Stoning in Iran[14]. While neither motion refers to religion or to Islam specifically, both are concerned with women's rights under religiously-justified laws.

In April 2010 Katy Clark replied to an amended list of survey questions:

Questions:
1) Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?
2) Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?
3) Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?
4) Should religious leaders be entitled to sit in the House of Lords?
5) Do you favour a fully elected second chamber?
Answers:
1) I do not believe that schools should be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution.
2) I do not believe the UK should recognise religious systems of law but instead continue with our existing legal system.
3) I believe that people expressing their religious beliefs should not be subject to abuse or discrimination, but legal protection from ridicule would not be an appropriate step.
4&5) When the House of Lords Reform bill came through parliament I voted to remove the second chamber. When this amendment was defeated I voted in support of a fully elected House of Lords.

Climate Change

In 2006, MPs were asked three questions by the Rough Guide's Mark Ellingham on how seriously they took climate change as politicians and as responsible, active citizens. Katy Clark replied:

"It is potentially the most important issue facing not just Britain but the whole world. Already we are seeing changes in our weather conditions in the UK and around the globe. Left unchecked Climate Change will have a devastating effect on the lives of millions of people globally with the most vulnerable in society hit hardest."[15]

Libel Law Reform

In January 2010, Katy Clark signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[16]. The motion noted that human rights activists, scientists, writers and journalists are currently prevented from publishing, and the public prevented from reading, matters of strong public interest due to the chilling effect of the law.

In April 2010 Katy Clark replied to an amended list of survey questions:

Q: Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence? (Please see here http://www.libelreform.org/)
A: I have supported the reform of English and Welsh libel law. In the last parliament I signed EDM 423 (link: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423 ) indicating my support of libel law reform.

Evidence Based Policymaking

In April 2010 Katy Clark replied to an amended list of survey questions:

Questions
1) Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly without fear of being sacked?
2) Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?
Answers:
1) I believe government advisors should be able to express their views openly.
2) I believe policy-makers should take all scientific evidence available into account.

Same-Sex Marriage

Katy Clark voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[17] and its third reading in May 2013[18].

References

  1. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  2. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2008-05-06b.552.5
  3. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080506/debtext/80506-0001.htm#0805068000018
  4. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2007-08/1598
  5. http://www.abortionrights.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Labour-Candidate-Replies-November-2014.pdf
  6. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Katy_Clark
  7. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  9. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2005-06/2708
  10. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/1635
  11. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/754
  12. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1770
  13. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1382
  14. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1917
  15. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/climate-change-what-mps-think--a-to-c-424376.html
  16. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423
  17. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Katy_Clark
  18. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Katy_Clark

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