When I first went to the United States in 1987, I was proud to support the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan. There were a few differences between the Republicans and the UK Conservative Party, but there was little doubt that they were sister parties.

Since the mid-1990s, the two parties have drifted apart both in philosophy and politics. The Republican Party has in large part been taken over by religious zealots. It is less of a political party nowadays; more of a religious sect. This week 25 white, middle-aged Republican state senators in Alabama voted en bloc to ban abortion in Alabama.

Ban it. Not restrict it, ban it. Even in cases of rape or incest. They’ve done it in the full expectation, or even hope, that it will be challenged in the courts. Their expectation is that it will be used to overturn Roe v Wade in the Supreme Court. They believe that Trump’s two conservative Supreme Court appointments, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, will vote the “right” way.

We’ll see. It’s very difficult now for any pro-choice Republican to run for office any longer. Absolutism has won the day. And if you show any signs of not being a fully-fledged God-fearing Christian, then you’re well advised to do something else with your life. I don’t know how many agnostics or atheists run for Republican office nowadays, but I suspect it’s a very low percentage.

God help this country (if you’ll pardon the expression), or indeed the Conservative Party, if we ever venture down this road.

This is part of my column this week on ConservativeHome.com.