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Amendment to remove financial conflict from abortion counselling

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Press Release by Nadine Dorries MP and Rt Hon. Frank Field MP

Nadine Dorries MP, and Frank Field, MP, aim to remove the financial conflict in abortion counselling through tabling an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill.  The aim of the amendment is to ensure that every woman considering an abortion has a right to independent pregnancy counselling before being referred to an abortion provider.
Outsourcing abortions to private providers is worth an estimated £60m.  The amendment will remove the financial conflict where private abortion clinics currently provide both NHS counselling and abortions.  This is an inappropriate relationship.
Nadine Dorries MP, said:
When vulnerable women in a crisis pregnancy situation consult a GP about an abortion many are referred on to a private clinic for counselling, the very same clinic paid to carry out terminations. Women are being denied independent information upon which to base such a huge decision. Advice, support and counselling should be available to the woman via her GP practice, in her own community, before she steps over the abortion clinic threshold.
Our amendment aims to ensure that all women seeking an abortion will be offered independent advice, separate from a private provider which would carry out an abortion.”
Frank Field MP, said:
“In the huge scandal of pension mis-selling, Parliament quite rightly took the decision to separate advice from the process of selling.  We wish, quite simply, for this basic principle to be applied to the provision of NHS abortions.”
Nadine Dorries added, “Many women find the process of their abortion distressing and have to live with that experience for the rest of their lives. Many women are angry to learn about this financial conflict particularly if they have suffered as a result of their abortion.  I have so much sympathy for those vulnerable women who had no independent help and no support and who live daily with the consequences.  This amendment will ensure that no woman experiences this ever again.
A second amendment is being tabled which further highlights the financial interests in abortion resulting in conflicting advice from Royal Colleges about the provision of abortion and it’s Psychological after effects.
A small group of 18 members of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists which recently published its draft findings has concluded that there are no psychological impacts of abortion.  In contrast to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, this guidance was put together by a group of 18 people, of which 11 make their living from abortions and also included 2 representatives of large-scale abortion providers.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists, whose members meet women suffering from their abortion experience, recently consulted widely with its 12,500 members and revised its guidance to recognise a link between abortion and psychological harm.
Nadine Dorries said: “The second amendment will transfer responsibility for drawing up the clinical guidelines for women seeking induced abortion from the RCOG to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).  These RCOG guidelines have been too influenced by abortion providers who have a financial interest in abortion provision. This is like asking British American Tobacco to draw up guidelines for smokers.
In recommending that vital information is withheld from women seeking an abortion the RCOG are treating women in a way which is reprehensible and antediluvian.
It is time for the self interest in the £60 million abortion industry to cease. NICE are accountable to Parliament, the RCOG is not.  This amendment will move the care of vulnerable women to a balanced, independent, accountable and caring footing.”

Notes to editors

  • 101, 161 NHS abortions outsourced to private providers in 2009 worth an estimated £60m.
  • Total number of abortions was 189,100 in England and Wales in 2009.
  • A British Journal of Psychiatry paper has shown that pregnant women who abort are 30 per cent more likely to develop mental health problems. Fergusson DM, Horwood LJ & Boden JM. Abortion and mental health disorders: Evidence from a 30-year longitudinal study. The British Journal of Psychiatry 2008; 193:444-451
  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists has recommended updating abortion information leaflets to include details of the risks of depression. “Consent cannot be informed without the provision of adequate and appropriate information.”
  • Several studies, including research published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry in 2006, concluded that abortion in young women might be associated with risks of mental health problems. 
  • An inquest in Cornwall in 2008 heard that a talented artist hanged herself because she was overcome with grief after aborting her twins. Emma Beck, 30, left a note saying: “Living is hell for me. I should never have had an abortion. I see now I would have been a good mum. I want to be with my babies; they need me, no one else does.”

Further information about the issues raised can be found at: (Live on 29MAR).
For further information/to arrange an interview:
Office of Nadine Dorries MP:        020 7219 5928 / 07841 181873
Office of Frank Field MP:               020 7219 3000

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