A proposal to remove abortion providers of their role in counselling women has been heavily defeated in the House of Commons after a split emerged between the original campaigners of the amendment.
MP’s voted by a majority of 250 to rebuff the amendment by Conservative backbencher Nadine Dorries after her co-sponsor, Labour MP Frank Field, withdrew his support.
Three cabinet members, Iain Duncan-Smith, Liam Fox and Owen Paterson supported the amendment, but original co-campaigner Field, removed his support after health minister Anne Milton said that the government would try to implement the spirit of Nadine Dorries’ proposal.
Dorries claimed that Milton’s undertaking of her suggestion was a victory, saying, “We lost the battle but we have won the war.”
If the amendment had been voted through, it would have stripped non-statutory abortion providers, such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) and Marie Stopes, from offering a counselling service to women. It was hoped this would increase greater opportunities for independent counsellors, some of which are influenced by pro-life groups, to supply counselling. This would not have affected NHS abortion providers, who would have been able to carry on offering free counselling.
Chief Executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Ann Furedi, welcomed the defeat. She said, “Bpas is pleased to see Nadine Dorries’ amendment so overwhelmingly rejected. We look forward to being able to focus our efforts on issues which pose a genuine problem for women considering ending a pregnancy.”
However, Dorries remained defiant, insisting, “It must be wrong that the abortion provider, who is paid to the tune of £60m to carry out terminations, should also provide the counselling if a women feels strong or brave enough to ask for it. If an organisation is paid that much for abortions, where is the incentive to reduce them?”
View the original Guardian article here.