Parliament misled over abortion funding
Revised figures show that the amount of taxpayers’ money being given to abortion clinics is dramatically higher than previously thought.
The figures, from the Department of Health, show that £75m of taxpayers’ money was given to private abortion clinics last year. In addition, the figures revealed that a far greater amount of money goes to private abortion providers than to NHS bodies, in direct contrast to previous reports.
Lord Alton, the crossbench peer who obtained the revised figures, said:
“I have written to Lord Howe setting out a number of concerns about how Parliament came to be so very badly misled about the costs to the NHS associated with abortion.
“The millions of pounds generated by the private abortion industry, which have never been revealed to Parliament, demonstrate why Frank Field has been absolutely right in demanding that the multi-million pound link between the referral agencies and the abortion industry should be severed.”
The health minister to the House of Lords, Earl Howe, explained that there were two different methods of calculating costs and that the Department of Health’s method is “less reliable” than abortion figures given directly to the Chief Medical Officer, with the latter now providing the basis for any future statistics.
Under the old method, the total amount of public money spent on abortion in 2009-10 was reported to be £90m, with £8m going to independent abortion providers such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and Marie Stopes International.
However, the updated figures show that only £ 44m was paid to NHS bodies, whilst £75m went to private clinics, providing a total of £118m spent on abortions in 2010. This is nearly £30m more than previously thought.
An amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill laid by the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, which would have made access to information and advice about abortion independent of the providers, was defeated in Parliament back in September.
Commenting on the revised figures, she said: “If anything proves that the link between the abortion provider and the woman facing a crisis pregnancy should be broken, this is it - too much money changes hands for anyone to argue that the private abortion provider can remain objective during the decision-making process.”
Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, commented:
“Further to Parliament being misled over the amount of taxpayer money given to private clinics for abortions, surely now is the time for reform of the abortion industry.
“Abortion providers don’t want to be scrutinised, but they are very keen to expand their businesses and carry out more terminations. This comes at a great cost to women and unborn children.
“Women who have unplanned pregnancies must not be left in the hands of abortion providers without receiving independent advice. The tie must be cut between those who counsel women and those who are paid to terminate their babies. It is hidden scandal which is thankfully now coming to light.”