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6 April 2017, 06:54
Women's groups and opposition MPs are to protest outside Parliament at the introduction of a so-called "rape clause'' into the tax credits system.
The move coincides with welfare changes limiting claims for child tax credit and Universal Credit to the first two children which will require rape victims to prove their third child was born as a result of sexual violence in order to qualify for an exemption.
SNP MP Alison Thewliss said: "From today women will need to prove that their child was conceived as a result of rape - just in order to claim tax credits. It is one of the most appalling, disgraceful and demeaning policies ever to emanate from Whitehall and should never have seen the light of day, let alone the statute books.
"At every turn, Ministers have tried to quietly implement this policy under the radar, knowing how unworkable and immoral it is.
"It is scandalous that this policy was rail-roaded through Parliament without a vote or debate and it's simply not good enough that the Government has promised MPs an opportunity to consider this when Parliament returns after Easter.
"The reality is, this policy is now in force and it is going to cause untold distress and harm to vulnerable women.
"The rape clause and two child policy is in utter chaos - with no guidance or training having been provided to the public service workers who will now be arbitrating on the credibility of a woman's claim to have conceived as a result of rape. We are not letting this sail through without a fight.''
Some 660,000 nurses, doctors and social workers in the UK have not been given adequate sexual violence awareness training to exercise the exemption, according to parliamentary answers obtained by Ms Thewliss.