UK Ministers Press On With Abortion Amendments Despite #Dorries

I’ve already done some work on the issues surrounding this issue: see Episode Eighty-Two – On Forty Days Of Treats – Interview . A partial interview with Liz was published in the UK Skeptic Magazine under “Kylie Sturgess and Tessa Kendall on sceptical activism and the abortion debate” (Volume 23, Edition 2 – which you can buy here).

For some context: the original September 2011 amendment to the bill by MPs Nadine Dorries and Frank Field was withdrawn when pressure was placed upon PM David Cameron (link to BBC article about the Health and Social Care bill and here’s another Telegraph article about the eventual decision).

Earlier in the news: two days ago the Guardian reported - Nadine Dorries’s sexual abstinence lessons bill withdrawn - protests by the British Humanists took place - “Ask your MP to oppose Nadine Dorries MP’s abstinence-only bill”

Now reported in the TelegraphMinisters press on with controversial abortion changes:

However, since then, Anne Milton, the health minister, has been working with DoH civil servants behind the scenes on plans to dramatically alter the system.

Draft proposals will set out three options.

The most radical change would see abortion clinics, such as those run by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and Marie Stopes International, barred from providing counselling, and under a legal duty to refer women seeking it to an independent service – as had been laid out in Mrs Dorries’ amendment.

An second option is for a system of “voluntary registration”. This would would mean any organisation offering counselling to women with a crisis pregnancy would have to meet minimum standards, and only use appropriately-trained counsellors.

A cross-party group of 10 MPs which has held secret talks over the proposals has become deeply divided about whether organisations running such services should be required to declare any ethical stance – such as holding pro-life beliefs.

…A third option, to retain the current, is also detailed in the DoH policy paper, despite acknowledgement that it would mean a “postcode lottery” remained in the standard of care.

Ministers are braced for fierce debate over the proposals, which are due to form a Department of Health consultation, likely to begin next month.

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About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • John Phillips, FCD

    Looks like it’s time hammer my MP again, though it is largely a waste of time as he has a majority in the tens of thousands and doesn’t really give a rats ass. Still, at least he should know that there is opposition out there so I continue to nag him on issues.

  • F

    Let’s go for option three with a consistent, good level of care. The MPs with agendas and the Health Minister (although I’m a bit confused by her actions yet) can go stuff themselves.

    Seems like this may be MP Dorries’ big problem

    This, which was mentioned in the Beeb’s Cameron article

    Did they just forget to mention the thousands of women who were not offered any counselling at private abortion providers such as Bpas? Or the many thousands who feel they were put on a conveyor belt to the operating theatre the minute they stepped through the clinic door?

    is testable. Where did the information behind that statement come from? You’d think the active pro-choice people would have mentioned this as a major issue that needs addressing if it were the case. Sounds more like a bureaucratic wrench being thrown at women to interfere with their choice in the guise of promoting their empowerment.

    Oh, ah, I see that exactly this was addressed. (But I didn’t watch the indexed video as I have no sound right now.) I shouldn’t try to read in chronological order then comment before finishing.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      Hey, at least you admitted that you got around to reading the whole thing! :)

      • F

        :) Thanks.

        I just figured I’d let stand what I’d already written and cop to the error rather than just bin the whole comment. It’s an important issue, and if someone as disconnected as I can start coming to the very same conclusions independently by reviewing the documentation, it seemed that “showing my work” (as the math teachers would say) might be a good idea.

        I thought that Forty Days of Treats was very cool. What a nice way to support women’s healthcare providers while they are under extra stress!