Abortion Advice To Change

The Department of Health is expected to stop organisations such as Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service providing counselling to women contemplating abortions.

The move is believed to be a response to a move by Conservative backbench MP Nadine Dorries and the Labour backbencher Frank Field who have proposed changes to abortion legislation, which they claim will reduce the UKs record abortion rate.

The 'pro-life' campaign has called for an end to the clinics themselves offering compulsory counselling for abortions, switching the service to independent organisations.

Campaigners believe the change would result in up to 60,000 fewer abortions each year in Britain and argue that as the charities who carry out abortion gain financially out of the procedures they should not be the ones to provide advice to women.

Speaking on Wednesday, MP Dorries said: "I'll say it again, no organisation which is paid for carrying out abortions and no organisation that thinks it's appropriate to bring God into a counselling session with a vulnerable woman, should be allowed anywhere near the counselling room."

However, Baroness Deech, who served for eight years as head of the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority, said the plans to offer all women thinking of have an abortion independent counselling were merely a "smokescreen" to limit a woman's right to choose.

The Baroness added that the measure would have the effect of reducing funding for charities, which offer abortions by removing the right for them to provide counselling themselves.

Ms Dorries comments come after a heated exchange on Newsnight, which she says has led to "another wave of abusive phone messages, emails and letters".

"Last week the Police rang after tracing the author of one of the death threats and asked me should they prosecute, I said no. I said no because I assume that people write such things and then probably regret it later. That policy has changed from today."

Ministers are hoping that the Department of Health's guidance would pacify MP Dorries and Field to remove their amendment tabled for September 6.


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