Jacob Rees-Mogg has said abortion is a “cult of death” and would not agree the right should be protected in the case of rape or incest.
Speaking in parliament on Monday, the former cabinet minister said the number of abortions was a “modern tragedy”.
It came as MPs were debating a petition which has called for abortion rights to be included in the government’s new UK Bill of Rights.
Rees-Mogg said this was not necessary as there was no majority in parliament to change the law as it currently stands.
But he said his view was life began at the point of conception where there was “a new genetic entity”.
Asked by Labour MP Stella Creasy if he would support the right of women to choose to have an abortion were they a victim of rape or incest, he did not say yes.
Rees-Mogg said: “I think the destruction of life is wrong.
“I do not believe that we should say that a new life should be destroyed. I do not believe that that is the right of the state.
“This is about destroying life. This is the cult of death. It is the great tragedy of abortion, and it is considered normal.
“The extraordinarily high number of babies that are destroyed is something that should sadden us all to the depths of our souls.”
Rejecting the petition’s argument, Rees-Mogg said it was both “wrong constitutionally” and “much more wrong morally” because it “prefers death to life”.
Speaking after the debate, Creasy said: “If you think we don’t need to codify in law that women have a human right to choose to have an abortion, Jacob Rees-Mogg just argued against women who are victims of rape or incest having a right to have one.
“Women deserve equal rights. Whoever is in government.”
The petition – which has had 167,065 signatures – asked the government to include abortion rights in the legislation in the wake of the United States Supreme Court overturning ‘Roe vs. Wade’.
“Abortion rights are healthcare rights; not just for individuals who do not wish to be pregnant, but also for those who do,” the petition says.
“For ectopic pregnancies, to finish a natural miscarriage, or if mother or foetus’ life is at high risk. There are a multitude of other reasons to seek an abortion and this should be protected as a right to choose.”