The abortion rules in the United Kingdom are set to be tightened in what has been described as “the biggest shake-up in a generation”. The plan would introduce a mandatory obligation on abortion clinics to offer women access to independent counselling, which is run on separate premises by a group which does not itself carry out abortions.
This makes sense to me given that you must be a fairly pro-abortion individual to be working for an abortion clinic – out of doctors who agree with abortion being a choice, few are actually willing to do it and much less specialise in it. This must surely mean skewed advice?
Although difficult to quantify, pro-life campaigners suggest the change could result in up to 60,000 fewer abortions each year in Britain, meaning 60,000 more births. Last year, 202,400 abortions were carried out in the United Kingdom. Robert Mendick reports in The Telegraph:
The proposed change comes ahead of a Commons vote, due to take place next week, on amendments to a public health Bill put forward by Nadine Dorries, a backbench Conservative MP. The amendments would prevent private organisations which carry out terminations — such as Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas) — from offering pre-abortion counselling. Women would instead be offered free access to independent counsellors.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “We are currently developing proposals to introduce independent counselling for women seeking abortion. These proposals are focused on improving women’s health and wellbeing. Final decisions on who should provide this counselling have not yet been made.” Proposals under discussion would involve withdrawing payments made by the taxpayer to abortion clinics for counselling women.
What is particularly concerning about abortion clinics giving pre-abortion counselling is that they are essentially advertising their own “product” – an awful way to put it given that it’s a human life we’re talking about, but people do make money out of it:
Last year, Marie Stopes and Bpas carried out about 100,000 terminations and were paid about £60 million to do so, mostly through the NHS…In a report entitled The Case for Independent Abortion Counselling, published last month by the campaign group Right to Know to bolster the Dorries amendment, abortion providers are accused of a “financial motivation… to grow revenues and increase the numbers of abortions that they perform” and claims that “the independence of counselling is compromised by the drive to encourage a decision for abortion”.
The report suggested that the “abortion industry” was worth £60 million a year to Marie Stopes and BPAS. The fewer abortions they carry out, the less income the charities would receive. In 1991, the NHS funded 84,369 abortions, but by 2010 that figure had more than doubled to 181,304. The additional abortions, paid for by the taxpayer, were entirely carried out by private providers such as BPAS and Marie Stopes on behalf of the NHS.
Regardless of what happens in the House of Commons, the United Kingdom Department of Health, is promising to develop proposals to introduce independent counselling for women seeking abortion, seemingly accepting that the advice given by abortion providers is not independent. This seems a positive step forward for women in the United Kingdom to me – many of whom rush to an abortion clinic in a panic, to make what is a very significant decision.