Diane Abbott attacks no-vote on abortion rules


2:00 pm - June 28th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister Diane Abbott today criticised the Government’s proposals to push through sweeping changes to abortion without a Parliamentary debate or a vote.

We pointed out last week that Frank Field MP (Labour) and Nadine Dorries MP (Cons) are trying to push their amendments on abortion through Parliament without even a vote.

Diane Abbott said:

It’s wrong for the Government to go about these sweeping changes without a proper debate and proper scrutiny in Parliament. I am deeply concerned that nobody has voted for this.

I think the way the Government is going about these changes, behind closed doors and without discussion with women and in parliament is showing arrogant disregard for millions of women and families across the country.

If the Government wants to change this, the public must be given a say, and Parliament must be given a vote.

The Department of Health also indicated it was considering a broader ban on counselling by abortion clinics, so that religious nutjobs such as Life can take their place.

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Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


So what can we do other than email our MP and ask them to raise a fuss?

This is distressing to a ridiculous degree.

2. Chaise Guevara

“no-vote”?

“The Department of Health also indicated it was considering a broader ban on counselling by abortion clinics, so that religious nutjobs such as Life can take their place”

I don’t necessarily agree with people approaching this issue from a religious perspective but surely they have a right to hold and express their opinion. Possibly also a right not to be insulted for their beliefs.

Even if the word “nutjob” now seems to mean anyone who is not in 100% agreement with Sunny.

I still see this as showing the problem with having big government (too big for all decisions to be ratified by parliament). It allows the idiots to take control of the levers of power.

But it is interesting that Ms Abbott criticises the results, not the mechanisms.

Why is Field still in the Labour Party?

“It’s wrong for the Government to go about these sweeping changes”

From what I’ve heard of the changes, they basically consist in clearing up a potential conflict of interest in abortion counselling. Hardly “sweeping changes”.

@6 Given that said apparent conflict of interests has existed for decades now it seems odd that they would still be in the “potential” stage. Perhaps the conflict of interest doesn’t exist, and likely never will.

8. James Reade

@Cyclux – that’s naive thinking at best. The conflict exists and has done ever since this system was set up.

Again as I’ve said before, I don’t understand the people so against this – what you are saying is not that you are pro choice, but that you are pro manipulated choice – choice manipulated by the advice given to you by a body that is paid only if you say yes, and not if you say no.

If this was happening with some financial product, all hell would have broken loose by now.

Double standards…?

Oh noes, they’re going to make it harder to kill unborn Babies. What a tragedy!

Oh wait.

I second @3. You may disagree with those against abortion, but that doesn’t mean you should insult them.

Also, the insult “nutjob” implies that they are mentally ill – as some with mental health issues I find this term a bit dodgy when used to describe someone whose views you dislike.

Oh noes, they’re going to make it harder to kill unborn Babies. What a tragedy!

Oh wait.

Are they? I doubt anyone who presents things in those terms will be employed as advisers (indeed, I find it hard to see a pressure group such as LIFE getting used as advisers since they are clearly not capable of impartial advice).

Oh, and you do realise that by your logic half the population kill unborn babies once a month, whilst quite a lot of the other half kill them a lot more frequently…

@8 Depends on if you’re misantrophic enough to think the primary aim of counsellors is to convince someone to make a decision, in reality they generally let the patient do all the talking, presenting an unjudging uninvolved face for the patient to sound off at to reach the decision right for them.
Apparently 20% of women who take the counselling decide to stay with the pregnancy, quite a feat given that only those considering to abort in the first place are likely to even access the counselling services. If the aim of the counsellors was to convince, you would expect that percentage to be closer to 0. It ain’t hard convincing someone to do something they’re already thinking about doing after all.

@ 12:

“Apparently 20% of women who take the counselling decide to stay with the pregnancy, quite a feat given that only those considering to abort in the first place are likely to even access the counselling services.”

Well, we don’t know how serious those women are; it may be that some of them just want somebody to unload to. And we don’t know how much of a feat it is without comparing it to other countries where such a conflict of interest doesn’t occur.

For once Diane is right.

Will these two start campaigning for improved state support for parents, I doubt it , especially Dorries.

Indeed the government is bapicking on single parents mercilessly.

The pro life groups are incredibly bias in their advice, while pregnancy advice services generally allow people to make their own decisions.

I was brought up in a catholic family and many catholic and religious activists are fanatical in their desire to stop abortion. They cannot be objective


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  11. Penny

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  12. hilary

    DoH is considering ban on counselling by abortion clinics, so that religious nutjobs such as Life can take their place. http://t.co/i8vfQ37

  13. Jo

    DoH is considering ban on counselling by abortion clinics, so that religious nutjobs such as Life can take their place. http://t.co/i8vfQ37

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