Amendment for Independent Counselling not passed
An amendment laid by Nadine Dorries MP to ensure that women who are considering an abortion are offered independent counselling, away from the abortion providers themselves, did not pass after a vote in Parliament yesterday (7 Sept).
118 MP’s voted for her amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill whilst 365 voted against it. Those that voted for the amendment included three cabinet ministers; Liam Fox, Ian Duncan Smith and Owen Patterson. David Cameron was not present in the Commons chamber for the debate.
Nadine Dorries said that better care needed to be taken of women thinking about having an abortion and that the counselling she envisaged was not compulsory but would help women struggling with the decision.
Nadine claimed that although she originally had David Cameron’s support for the change, the Prime Minister gave into Liberal Democrat ‘blackmail’ over the issue. She claimed that Nick Clegg had threatened to withdraw Lib Dem support for the Health and Social Care Bill should the amendment be passed.
She told the BBC, however, that "We lost the battle but we have won the war" after Health Minister Anne Milton conceded in the debate that a full consultation would be held on the issue. The Health Minister said:"The Government is supportive of the spirit of these amendments and we intend to bring forward proposals for regulations."
MPs will likely be asked to vote on any changes to the system of counselling when the results of the consultation are presented to Parliament.
In her speech, Nadine drew attention to BPAS, which carries out 55,000 abortions every year, and its incentive to procure more abortions. In its report to the British Charity Commissioners in 2010, BPAS declared, “Our main priority in the coming year is to ‘grow’ our business, by utilising and expanding our capacity to treat clients and extending our collaboration with the NHS.’’
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“Many positive things have resulted from Nadine’s brave attempt to offer independent counselling to women who are considering an abortion. As well as securing a vital consultation on this issue, and gaining much support for her position, there has been a huge amount of media coverage and discussion on an issue which usually remains buried.
“Because of this amendment, the vested interests of the abortion providers have been exposed and attention has been turned to the many women who were never offered the counselling they needed before making such a major decision.
“Women should be offered independent counselling, outside of the abortion clinics. They need to be given a chance to get off the abortion conveyor belt and do their own thinking. We look forward to responding to the consultation.”