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Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals


3:44 pm - August 29th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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The MPs Nadine Dorries and Frank Field have put forward three amendments to the NHS Bill, which is due to be debated when parliament returns next week.

The amendments propose that organisations such as British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and Marie Stopes be prevented from providing counselling to women who want abortions, on the basis that they have a ‘vested interest’ in encourage women to have abortions.

The biggest irony is that the amendments are attached to a bill primarily about pushing private companies (with vested interests) into the NHS, on the basis they can offer services better and cheaper.

So how are both being dishonest?

1) Both Marie Stopes and BPAS are not-for-profit organisations. By definition they have no financial interest in women having more abortions.

2) About 20% of women who get advice from BPAS don’t end up having abortions. So the advice goes both ways.

3) Both BPAS and Marie Stopes get guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, on the basis of clinical evidence, on which risks should be explained and how they should be discussed.

They are obliged to follow that.

4) Both are also regulated and licensed by the Dept of Health. If they didn’t follow the strict guidelines they would be stripped off their licenses.

Marie Stopes’ counsellors belong to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

This is part one of a series of short briefings I’ll be publishing this week in advance of the bill

I encourage all of you to get in touch with your MPs in opposition to these amendments. Abortion Rights have made it easy for you.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Feminism ,Health

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Reader comments


1. Flowerpower

You are being a touch disingenuous by claiming that a “not-for-profit” cannot have a vested interest. Profit isn’t the only compelling motivation, you know, and I’m amazed a lefty would suggest it is.

Organizations like BPAS and MSI are run in many ways like businesses…… they have marketing departments, business-development managers and targets to increase revenue.

It would take a pretty brave counsellor to advise a woman NOT to go ahead with an abortion if that meant others in the office in which she worked would be less likely to meet their targets.

The “woman’s right to choose” is the most powerful argument for legal abortion, so it seems foolish to muddy the waters on that “choice” aspect.

Truly independent counselling would enhance the prospects for women being given a totally free and informed choice. Why oppose that?

“2) About 20% of women who get advice from BPAS don’t end up having abortions. So the advice goes both ways.”

In the absence of any comparisons with other abortion providers, that figure doesn’t really mean anything. For all we know based on the OP, 20% is significantly lower than the figure in countries where abortion advice and provision are separated.

I don’t oppose that flowerpower – but by their nature advisers who absolutely don’t provide abortions (the ones now going to be allowed to give advice) are quite likely to be anti abortion. I find it quite difficult to believe that women are chivvied into having abortions for financial reasons. I suppose I can believe that some people who are very involved in advocating a woman’s right to choose have a slight tendency to gloss over negatives associated with abortion because they will have heard them invoked by the anti-abortion side so often. But I think the most biased of all will be the pro-life counsellors – they really *do* have an agenda. (And there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s just that it seems irrational to say that Marie Stopes has a vested interest if you are then, as I think is the case, going to allow very pro-life groups to fill the gap.)

“Both Marie Stopes and BPAS are not-for-profit organisations. By definition they have no financial interest in women having more abortions.”

As @1 points out, that’s something of a fail. A bureaucracy is a not for profit organisation but absolutely everyone thinks that a bueraucracy has financial interests, just as one example. Not for profit does not equal not having financial interests.

Trade unions are not for profit, think they don’t have financial interests? Political parties are not for profit, think they don’t have financial interests?

In that case we should ensure that the mechanisms for payment are completely outcome-neutral – *not* allow pro-life groups to take their place. If people want to campaign openly for changes to abortion law – that’s fine.

Truly independent counselling would enhance the prospects for women being given a totally free and informed choice. Why oppose that?

They get that already – from accredited experts who don’t make money from abortions.

Organizations like BPAS and MSI are run in many ways like businesses

Pure rubbish.

If that’s what you call a ‘vested interest’ – then I assume flowerpower and Tim Worstall would be totally against any form of private involvement in healthcare provision, right?

Right? Oh wait. You’re not. You are FOR private for-profit involvement in healthcare provision, but are simultaneously attacking ‘vested interests’ when it comes to abortion.

I’ve never heard of such glaring hypocrisy.

Is anybody really talking about “allow[ing] pro-life groups to take their place”, though? I don’t think that follows, unless every group which doesn’t currently provide abortions is pro-life, which I haven’t seen any proof of.

8. James Reade

I never cease to be amazed how illiberal Sunny Hundal is when it comes to anything even close to being related to religion, and Christianity in particular (since he has plenty of other religiously held beliefs himself).

So much wrong with this post, some of which commenter 1 has pointed out.

For example, “About 20% of women who get advice from BPAS don’t end up having abortions. So the advice goes both ways.”. Hmm, so what? How is that evidence at all that advice goes both ways? It’s evidence that 20% of women didn’t have an abortion, and that’s about it. We don’t know how many would have not had an abortion had the advice givers not had the financial incentive to encourage abortion, and until we do, any such statements are vacuous and prove nothing at all.

As flowerpower concludes, I never understand why folk like Sunny here on LC are against free and fully informed choice by women seeking abortion. They are pro-manipulated choice.

Truly independent counselling would enhance the prospects for women being given a totally free and informed choice.

What, from groups that been caught out giving really bad advice, and are opposed to abortion under all circumstances?

Yeah, very neutral and informed, that.

I don’t see why women need to be forced into mandatory ‘advice’ sessions once they’ve decided upon abortion in the first place. Nevermind all the bullshit over so called ‘vested interests’.

@ 10:

To make sure it’s an informed choice.

I don’t think anyone would oppose greater provision of women’s health services, including *extra* counselling services that could be taken up, should women want them, while making a decision about a pregnancy.

But what people seem to be missing, aside from the question of who might be lining up to provide such services, is that these proposals aren’t an added extra: they’re taking services (and therefore, presumably, funding) away from organisations like Marie Stopes and BPAS, while attempting to discredit them as biased (see the frankly ludicrous ‘report’ produced by Right to Know here)

Now what interest anti-abortion campaigners could possibly have in discrediting and defunding abortion providers – about whom there are no complaints, as Sunny points out – I couldn’t possibly guess…

XXX @ 10

‘To make sure’? To make sure what, exactly? To make sure the anti abortionists have poked their unwelcome nose into somebody else’s business? What if the women do not ‘want’ to be informed? Why should these religious nutters be allowed to foist their views on anyone? Why the fuck do they need taxpayer’s money ear-marked for real sex education diverted into their greedy little hands?

Who the fuck gave these people the divine right to pontificate on other people’s lives?

What about this for an idea? Let those women who choose abortion to go and have abortions and those who do not want abortion go and pick an alternative? That way everybody wins, except for you and your authoritarian mates of course, but then again that is no great loss.

Nobody from the pro abortion side would ever want to drag anti abortion women off the streets and DEMAND that they have the pro abortion argument rammed down their throats, so why should the anti abortion side be given carte blanche to do it?

@ 10 I don’t see why women need to be forced into mandatory ‘advice’ sessions once they’ve decided upon abortion in the first place.

@ 11 To make sure it’s an informed choice.

Marie Stopes gets over £80m from the state to provide this “essential” advice and their Chief Executive is paid more than £200k. It is certainly in their interests to make sure women seeking abortions are making an “informed” choice, whatever that means.

What’s wrong with the information being given by the woman’s GP?

Or via Google?

The fact that this compulsory advice needs to be given is, itself, a slur on the principle that a woman has the right to choose. Frankly, if a woman is incapable of making her own decision as to whether or not she wants to have a child, she should proceed with the abortion.

15. Luis Enrique

I don’t really understand – why should having a “vested interest” prevent an organization from being able to provide counseling? Don’t alcohol counseling services have a “vested interest” in trying to get people off booze? etc.

and since when did either Marie Stopes and BPAS have a “vested interest” in the sense that they try to “encourage” women into having abortions? I’m sure they do not – many people might want women to be able to have abortions, if that’s what’s best for them, but it’s not something that’s positively encouraged.

Sunny, I think Tim W & Flowerpower are just correcting you on small point that “not for profit” != “no vested interest”… if I read them right, neither would agree with this illiberal nonsense by Dorries Field.

Or, have I misread this, and do Marie Stopes and BPAS actually generate revenue by performing abortions?

Bloody hell, Jim.

We agree!!!!!

Jim @ 13:

If you decide to have an operation, would you just breeze into the surgery, say “I’d like to have this operation, please,” and expect the surgeons to do what you say? Or would you talk over it with your doctor, examining the pros and cons and potential risks of the procedure, before making a final decision as to whether or not you wish to go through with it?

“Nobody from the pro abortion side would ever want to drag anti abortion women off the streets and DEMAND that they have the pro abortion argument rammed down their throats,”

Prove it.

xxx – I thought your point at #7 was a fair one and I’d be interested to have more information – but who in this country actively wants to encourage women, who have decided to continue their pregnancy, to have an abortion?

@ 14:

“Or via Google?”

Yeah, because information you find on the internet is always right, isn’t it?

“The fact that this compulsory advice needs to be given is, itself, a slur on the principle that a woman has the right to choose.”

Either that, or the desire that somebody making a fairly major decision should be in a position to make an *informed* decision…

Either that, or the desire that somebody making a fairly major decision should be in a position to make an *informed* decision…

I’m in favour of individuals making decisions for themselves, without compulsory state intervention, either direct or indirect, to “inform” them what to do.

Here’s something from the conservative religious blogger Cranmer. http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com/2011/08/nadine-dorries-is-victim-of-lib-lab.html

He has a go at a collective target and has a lovely picture of Dorries, though none of Field, despite making an allegation that Dorries has been attacked for sexist reasons rather than because she is a complete arse.

I hope we can all agree that this is an attempt at a retrograde move in human rights despite the complex issues that need to be balanced.

While I dislike abortion I have had to support my partner through such procedures and it is clear to me that it is not a simple thing, there are profound emotional consequences. However the alternatives remain worse, and until that changes or other evidence arises then I feel the status quo is very reasonable and does not need to change.

Field and Dorries will never stop abortion. The most they can achieve is to drive it underground again, with all the terrible consequences that brings.

The difference between Marie Stopes, BPAS etc and the organisations Dorries + Field would like providing advice is that the latter will only counsel women towards ONE option ie not having an abortion, whereas the former are not.

Perhaps the 20% non-abortion rate is due to the fact that most women who choose to use Marie Stopes, BPAS etc have already made their decision.

To the pro-lifers out there, pro-choice does not equal pro-abortion; believing in a woman’s right to choose is NOT the same as encouraging or wanting her to have an abortion.

Sarah,

“but who in this country actively wants to encourage women, who have decided to continue their pregnancy, to have an abortion?”

I’m afraid you’re not paying attention. At one end we’ve people like the Optimum Population Trust….OK, cheap shot…..but there really are people out there who, for example, argue that teenagers who get pregnant really should have abortions, not have the child. Who would wish to persuade them of such.

I should make a declaration of interest here: I’m against abortion in nearly all its forms, nearly all the time. When it is actually a choice between life of the mother and not life of the mother then it’s, in my moral view (for whatever little to none amount that matters) a regrettable but necessary thing. Think ectopic pregnancies. But, again in my view, which I’m very well aware is not the view of most of my fellow citizens, most abortions are the killing of one person in order not to disrupt the lives of one or more others. Something which doesn’t pass, again for what ever tiny amount this matters, doesn’t pass my moral smell test.

For, y’know, killing people is wrong. Just to let you know where my view of this comes from.

BTW, no religious point to this nor reason for it. Just straight up old “human beings have rights” among which are not being flushed down the hospital toilet just because people don’t want you around.

Cherub:

“While I dislike abortion I have had to support my partner through such procedures and it is clear to me that it is not a simple thing, there are profound emotional consequences. ”

Procedure “s”? Tried condoms? The pill? Tying a knot in it? Rhythm? All are said to help avoid killing someone so that you can get your end away.

24. Mr S. Pill

@Tim W

One thing that always baffled me about anti-choice wingnuts such as yourself; in your ideal society – where presumably abortion is outlawed – what would you do to a woman who decides to have an abortion? Lock her up? Criminalise the doctors involved as well? Do you really think that would be in the best interests of somebody?
On abortion itself, do you really think a woman should be forced to become a mother if she doesn’t want to? You think the state should have that right over people’s bodies? And you think you’re a libertarian?

The easy, humane and probably only way to stop abortion is to ensure that everyone has good access to proper long-term contraception, without prejudice as to age and financial means.

But do we see the antis putting this forward?

Of course not. Because their real aim is the exercise of control over others, through our bodies and sexuality.

Rebecca – quite. Tim – but people aren’t actively putting pressure on individual women to have abortions for ideological reasons are they? Cherub – yes, I saw the Cranmer piece and didn’t see where sexism came into it really.

XXX @ 17

If you decide to have an operation, would you just breeze into the surgery, say “I’d like to have this operation, please,” and expect the surgeons to do what you say?

When is that likely to happen? Is it likely that I am going to ask a surgeon to fix my cubical tunnel without first having my GP diagnose the problem? If I was to talk over the pros and cons, is it likely I will do it with an anti operation charity? No, the GP would give me advice and I would make up my own mind.

The surgeon went through what was invovled and it got done, simple as that.

“One thing that always baffled me about anti-choice wingnuts such as yourself; in your ideal society – where presumably abortion is outlawed”

Ah, no, you’ve missed a bit there. In my ideal society no one would kill another human being simply for their own convenience, this is true.

But the law isn’t based upon my moral values: it’s based upon the moral values of the majority. I accept that abortion is going to be legal in any country I’m likely to live in for whatever my lifetime happens to be. I most certainly don’t ever argue that abortion should be illegal: only ever that in most cases it is, according to my lights, immoral.

And do note, I’ve said that my views of moral values aren’t all that important. I am, after all, just one person.

“On abortion itself, do you really think a woman should be forced to become a mother if she doesn’t want to?”

There is a trade off going on here. Between the right of a woman not to be a mother and between the right of another human being to exist. I agree, I’ve already decided the issue by stating that a fetus, a blastocyst, is a person that has rights. The most basic right of course being not being killed just because someone else doesn’t want you around.

I also agree that many disagree with me on this point. So? I’m just explaining my views. Free speech n’all.

If a foetus isn’t a human being then there’s no problem, is there? If it is, then there’s a trade off. In that latter case no, I don’t think the “right” of a woman not to become a mother trumps the right of a human to keep living.

We do, after all, these days have pretty damn good contraception, no?

“You think the state should have that right over people’s bodies?”

I’m not convinced that anybody should have rights over the life or not of another. Which, given that I think that a foetus is a person, means that no one, the mother, father, the State, should be allowed to decide to kill them.

“And you think you’re a libertarian?”

No, I don’t. I think I’m a classical liberal. Human beings have rights, not human beings don’t. Where we have human beings whose rights collide we have the great problem of that liberalism. The only thing that I am doing which is even in the slightest bit different from any other liberal (or even libertarian) is in my definition of what is or what is not a human with rights.

If, and I emphasise “if”, a foetus is a human being then abortion is a moral crime against liberalism, against the most basic of human rights. If a foetus is not a human being then it ain’t.

I am of the former opinion.

@14 “What’s wrong with the information being given by the woman’s GP?”

Er, the fact that too many GPs are fruitcakes with a mass of pre-conceived (sorry for pun) ideas and delusions of moral superiority.

Tim w @ 23

I’m afraid you’re not paying attention. At one end we’ve people like the Optimum Population Trust….OK, cheap shot…..but there really are people out there who, for example, argue that teenagers who get pregnant really should have abortions, not have the child. Who would wish to persuade them of such.

But Tim, no-one has suggested giving these people money to council pregnant women, though have they? They may have a view on abortions, but they are not giving compulsory advice to women who not want abortion in a bid to change their mind, are they?

Who would support such a move? I have never heard a single person suggest that we attempt to ‘convert’ women into having abortions.

I should make a declaration of interest here: I’m against abortion in nearly all its forms, nearly all the time.

And you are perfectly entitled to that perfectly legitimate view. That does not mean we should be giving taxpayers money to groups to chant that at pregnant women, does it?

31. Luis enrique

Tim W, for sake of clarity, despite your personal views on the matter, what’s your stance on matter in hand, namely these pairs efforts to stop these organisations doing what they do.

Jim @ 27:

If you prefer I could change it to “You wouldn’t breeze into your local GPs’ surgery and say ‘I’ve decided I want to have this operation’, and expect your GP to hop to it and arrange an operation with the nearest surgery.” It wouldn’t change the point of the analogy.

XXX @ 32

Well what I normally do is go tomy doctor and say ‘I want these symptoms treated’ and the doctor will normally tell me what he can do for me. I do not go into the doctors and then get referred to someone who is opposed to that given treatment for compulsory counselling.

Tim W @ 28

“We do, after all, these days have pretty damn good contraception, no?”

Yes there are lots of options for contraception, but as I’m sure any doctor or contraceptive manufacurer would tell you, no method is 100% gaurunteed.

I had been on the pill for a few years and in May decided to have the contraceptive implant fitted, as once fitted this protects you for 3 years and is more convenient than having to take the pill each day. Between having my last period and the implant fitted I became pregant; I had not missed any pills. Should I have been forced to continue my pregnancy, despite making every effort to be responsible and use contraception, and even actively seeking more permanent and reliable forms of contraception that the pill I was currently using?

It’s easy for you to dismiss abortion as immoral and depriving another human being of life, you’ll never find yourself in a position where you have to make the choice despite doing everything you can to prevent yourself ending up in that situation.

That *not for profit* point s a bit duff but putting that aside, all you have really ‘proved’ is that two people are wrong. Showing that someone is wrong about something isn’t the same as showing that they’re dishonest.

One thing to bear in mind is the numbers of abortions carried out by nature. Quite significant. That’s why women are encouraged to wait for three months before announcing the pregnancy to the world. Nature is amoral.

If abortion providers themselves are prevented from providing counselling then women will have to approach two agencies if they are considering an abortion rather than just one.

This will mean an increased likelihood that some women won’t go through with an abortion because of the increased stress of approaching and explaining their situation to two organisations etc. Or they do without counselling at all.

This is not a trivial point. Research into advice services found that people were less likely to get the services they want if they have to approach multiple agencies rather than a ‘one stop shop’. With a stressful situation like abortion this scenario is likely to be replicated.

Of course, Dorries has said out loud that she hopes that her measure will substantially reduce the number of abortions carried out. This at least is likely to be true but not for the reasons that she claims.

@ 29

Er, the fact that too many GPs are fruitcakes with a mass of pre-conceived (sorry for pun) ideas and delusions of moral superiority.

Actually, I agree with you.

So why do we pay them £100k a year and not ensure they do their job properly? If we are going to have an NHS, abortion on demand should be part of the deal.

39. Roger Mexico

Oddly no one’s picked up a piece on the Guardian’s website that suggests that the government is backing Dorries proposals. The Guardian reports that:

The Department of Health confirmed that it would change the rules to ensure abortion counselling was offered “independently” of clinics that conduct terminations. Its announcement was made in advance of an attempt next week led by the Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries to amend the health and social care bill to force such a requirement

Now, apart from those already mentioned, there are a number of reasons to find this distasteful:

* It is not deemed necessary that any other medical procedure have ‘independent’ counselling. Imagine the complaints from the free-marketeers if this principle was applied to cosmetic surgery for example.

* The other counselling agencies such as LIFE are hardly independent – their financial security depends on their success in dissuading women from having abortions. More so than those charities linked to abortion clinics depend on the income from abortions.

* It is being attempted to sneak the changes through without any debate in Parliament.

* It is being pushed by something called the “Right to Know campaign”. Dorries claims not to know how it is funded but says it represented “hundreds” of people and was run by a lobbyist. She would not reveal the lobbyist’s name, or the other organisations the lobbyist represents

* As Dorries herself admits the aim is to prevent abortions happening – she reckons this would cut them by 30%. The idea is to prolong the period before a woman can have a termination, hoping things can be dragged out till a woman is forced to change her mind. In the article Dorries is quoted as saying “The abortion process is so fast – 7-14 days”. Can you imagine any other time-dependant medical procedure where you are forced to wait that long before your decision will be accepted?

* The attitude of those pushing these changes implies that women are very easily swayed to have abortions – sort of the medical equivalent of chocolate or shoes. On that logic they should be readily available on the High Street with other desirable consumer goods. Alternatively they could accept that women are rational human beings able to make decisions for themselves.

* Dorries and her allies seem keen to have another 60,000 babies born each year who will either be damaged in some way or born to mothers who feel unable to cope with them. Presumably they will be fighting even harder for greater monetary and non-monetary support for single mothers, large families, disabled children. I must say I haven’t noticed so far. In truth such people are the exact political equivalents of deadbeat dads – they want to have their fun and force their decisions on other people but they don’t want to deal with the consequences.

Now the British public are very supportive of a woman’s right to choose to have a termination. Just under 80% think abortion should be legal in all or most cases and this support is equally split across ages, sex, voting intention and region.

And yet the government seem keen to go through with this restriction, despite it may appear sneaky, nasty to women, hypocritical and linked to shadowy lobbyists. And seeming to be at the beck and call of Christian fundamentalists may not play well with the public.

I wsh religious people would stop trying to impose their lunatic ideas on everyone else. Just accept it, there’s no such thing as god.

The amendments propose that organisations such as British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and Marie Stopes be prevented from providing counselling to women who want abortions, on the basis that they have a ‘vested interest’ in encourage women to have abortions

They really can’t seem to grasp the idea that people can be motivated by anything other than self interest can they. That really says far more about them than it does the organisations in question. It reminds me of the right wing troll who was on here who claimed that disabillity charities only opposed the governments assualt on the disabled because they were self interested lobbies! Typical sociopaths!

Now does anyone really believe that the people behind this dont have a hidden agenda (or not so hidden). Which is to eventually outlaw abortion?

Although, like their American counterparts they have realised that they can’t win the argument straight out, because public opinion is overwhelmingly against them, and so they are resorting to sneaky underhand methods of snipping away little by little at abortion rights, hoping no-one will notice.

I can imagine choosing *not* to go to another organisation to get further advice – because I wouldn’t want to drag the process out – I can imagine this change might actually lead to *more* people choosing abortion because the advice wouldn’t be so immediately avaiable – also, if any ‘independent’ advisers *are* going to put pressure on women not to have abortions, that could also set off a reaction in favour of the abortion if the woman was aware that she was being putting under pressure. I’m not on the most pro-choice wing of the debate – but I fully agree with Graham that this seems a sneaky change.

“Tim W, for sake of clarity, despite your personal views on the matter, what’s your stance on matter in hand, namely these pairs efforts to stop these organisations doing what they do.”

Dunno, not tried to think it through.

“It’s easy for you to dismiss abortion as immoral and depriving another human being of life, you’ll never find yourself in a position where you have to make the choice despite doing everything you can to prevent yourself ending up in that situation.”

Quite true, I won’t. Nor will I ever find myself as a warlord having to choose between committing war crimes or not. No one at all says that this should stop me having a view on the morality of the committing of war crimes or not.

@23 Tim Worstall

You make a lot of assumptions as to why a woman might need an abortion. With the best intentions contraceptives can fail, if you look at the figures then most of them only claim a success rate in the 95+% range. That means there will be failures.

Do you really believe that women should be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term except in the most dire circumstances?

“Do you really believe that women should be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term except in the most dire circumstances?”

As I’ve said above, I think that in such cases there is a conflict of rights. The right to life of the child (and yes, I’ve already begged the question by stating my belief that there is a child, not a thing, involved) in my opinion trumps the right of the woman (and man of course, there are two involved here) to not be burdened with a child.

I cannot think of any manner in which this, my I admit idiosyncratic analysis of the moral situation, could acceptably be made the legal position: I think Ceascescu tried it and that’s not the sort of society I would wish on anyone.

This isn’t, as I’m sure you will note, the only time that moral positions cannot be encoded into law.

46. Mark Redwood

The issue at stake here is in the advice and counselling that the pro-life versus the pro-choice organisations provide.

BPAS states – “At bpas we accept that unplanned pregnancies happen and that every woman should have the right to decide for herself how to deal with the situation.”

Marie Stopes – “At Marie Stopes International we always support a woman’s choice to continue with her pregnancy or have an abortion.”

This stands in stark contrast to Pro-life’s aims, which contains some quite frankly ridiculous advice, such as should I tell my parents I am pregnant? And I quote

“[you] should seek the counsel and guidance of your parents who certainly love you and care for your well-being more than anyone else”

Which completely fails to recognise the sometimes difficult relationships that people have with their parents. And they also promote the very controversial abortion increases your risk of breast cancer line.

If I was pregnant and wanted some impartial counselling to help me to decide to terminate or to continue with the pregnancy, could I trust pro-life to do that?

The answer is resounding no.

Are Nadine and Frank really interested in promoting services for women to help them make a very difficult decision, or are they just promoting their own narrow ideology?

47. the a&e charge nurse

There is a complex moral maze around abortion, and it is good to talk about the issues from time to time – but this matter is much simpler.

Any proposal associated with the name Dorries is inherently suspicious – her inane ramblings have been debunked time and again on Unity’s ‘Ministry of Truth’.

In other words Dorries is a kind of shorthand for shit, thus rendering any further debate about her ideas at least rather pointless.

Of course there is a world of difference between action and principle so there may well be a need to lobby political figure daft enough to be taken in her by Daily Mail style ranting.
It is clear Dorries simply wants to reduce the number of terminations (to the tune of 60,000 per year – so 140,000 instead of 200,000) – she believes reconfiguration of the talking services will achieve this target.

As much as I dislike Dorries I must admit the current rates of abortion are unsettling.

@Mark – personally I think some people would benefit from talking to their parents who may be more supportive than expected. Ironically, I can think of one case was a young woman was pressured into having an abortion by her father – LIFE’s advice may not bring about the result they hope for! I used to know someone slightly who supported his young daughter through her pregnancy – both the girl and the baby continued to live in the family home.

@1 Flowerpower

“It would take a pretty brave counsellor to advise a woman NOT to go ahead with an abortion if that meant others in the office in which she worked would be less likely to meet their targets.”

Who do you imagine is setting counsellors ‘abortion targets’? The NHS? You clearly have no understanding whatsoever of how these services run.

@47 What rates of abortion would be acceptable?

51. Flowerpower

Ciaran @ 41 & Sunny @ Sunny Hundal @ 6

Who do you imagine is setting counsellors ‘abortion targets’? The NHS? You clearly have no understanding whatsoever of how these services run.

Organizations like BPAS and MSI are run in many ways like businesses –
Pure rubbish.

Really? Take a look at the job description for Marie Stopes’s Business Development and NHS Contracts Manager:

The role will involve implementing new strategies to enhance the business and income and be responsible for managing and expanding existing NHS contracts…

Meanwhile, over at BPAS the equivalent postholder is instructed to

promote the growth of business and income generation within the region…..{&}
develop and implement an agreed programme of activity targeted at gaining new business in line with the BPAS business plan.

In its annual report BPAS listed its achievements for 2009-10 as inter alia :

• The attainment of an additional 2,400 NHS procedures in calendar year 2009 compared to 2008.
• An increase of more than 3,000 procedures at less than 9 weeks gestation in calendar year 2009 compared to 2008.

BPAS also set itself objectives for 2010-11

Our key aim is to:

• Develop further our use of the internet and multimedia to market services.
• Identify opportunities and develop strategies for expansion…
• Generate a surplus of £2m…

Sounds pretty commercialized to me.

If BPAS’s “key objective” was to “provide the very best unbiased advice so women can make a free and informed choice” you might be on to something. But their key objectives seem to be more about institutional expansion and generating a a £2m surplus’ (not a “profit” of course!)

52. Paul Newman

I think you have to wonder how to take any posting on this subject on this site when the editor, Mr. Hundal, holds such an extraordinary position. This is what he had to say during a thread on the Liberal Conspiracies Editorial Line :

“I think if a woman chooses to abort her baby a week before its born( Yes a week ….) (and the likelihood is extremely rare) then its usually a VERY important reason, and I think they’re intelligent enough to weigh this up by themselves. I see no need to make the assumption that if a woman makes that decision, she is mad or something and should be forced to have the baby by the state anyway.”

Personally I am not sure why a woman should not pursue her teenage children down the street with a baseball bat if it suits her lifestyle to get rid of the unwanted brats Sunny, when does the culling season begin yeee ha !I am unclear at least why we have to treat the moment of birth ,so called, as sacrosanct ,anyway, its not fair to women.
I say t any age it can be fitted in a good size handbag its fair game.

@Paul – quite extraordinary – obviously if there is some real threat to the woman’s life …

Although it is unpleasant to think about a man being able to intervene to prevent his partner from having an (otherwise legal) abortion it is distressing, to say the least, to think of the situation of a man whose partner makes the decision outlined by Sunny.

54. the a&e charge nurse

[50] “What rates of abortion would be acceptable” ……….. fewer, if possible.

I actually find myself sympathising with Tim W here: there is a principled position that says a human begins at the fertilisation of an egg and extrapolates from there as if the fertilised egg has equal rights to any other human. On the face of it that’s a reasonable point of view, even if many of those who promote it do so not on the merits but because they feel a religious responsibility to prevent/punish non-procreative sex (and thus also seek to restrict/ban any contraception based on any conveniently available rationale).

The big problem for me is that this assumption (blastocyst = human) would make not only abortion but using contraceptive pills (which Tim W appears to endorse) murder since their method of operating is to prevent a blastocyst attaching to the uterine wall. It would also make a failure of a blastocyst to implant (the usual outcome of sexual intercourse) a tragic and avoidable death. That seems to me to be a ludicrous idea, and if it were widely accepted in the UK, the consequences could be fairly horrible for individual liberty.

But at the same time, clearly a foetus for quite some weeks before birth is basically a human, and most would probably concede they should have at least some rights independently of the mother. There’s no immediately obvious point at which to draw a line.

Personally, I’d say a human being is their consciousness. If life support machines were able to keep an adult body functioning (heart beating, etc) with no head, few would say they were keeping a human being alive, I think. If I want to be consistent in defining when an abortion becomes arguably definable as ‘murder’, I’d have to start from the presence of a functioning brain. I’ve always assumed that the vast majority of abortions are carried out significantly before that point. Perhaps I should look into that.

But on this specific measure – of *course* the stated purpose is dishonest. As other commenters have pointed out, Dorries has openly spoken of her aim to reduce abortions by any means for religious reasons, so to claim it’s only about conflicts of interest within family planning organisations (even if such conflicts of interest might exist) is more than a bit disingenuous. Just like in the USA, it’s an attempt at building a de facto ban where no democratic majority exists for a real ban.

56. Leon Wolfson

@40 – I wish atheists would stop trying to impose their lunatic ideas on everyone else. Just accept it, there are no ethics outside religion.

Done stereotyping yet, or need some more ungentle hints?

I’m religious and support the status quo purely from a public health perspective, as I’ve said.

“It would take a pretty brave counsellor to advise a woman NOT to go ahead with an abortion if that meant others in the office in which she worked would be less likely to meet their targets.”

It would be a fool-hardy and unethical counsellor who let his/her colleagues know what transpired during a consultation. Never heard of confidentiality?

58. Gordon Craig

Dorries and Field are trying to use the profit loss argument to weaken the efficiency of Marie Stropes and the BPAS,to facilitate their religious driven objection to abortion. The Pope who because of his intensely stupid viewpoint on contraception and abortion is guilty of the death of millions of people through back street abortions and the spread of Aids is by proxy trying to affect the laws in our Parliament. The argument is about the womans right to choose, if they want counseling before or after an abortion it should be available to them if they choose. I will accept a scientific argument about limiting the time for abortions based on the viability of a fetus surviving at that stage of pregnancy. An argument based on religious doctrine has no pace in the House of commons.


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    Trust me, this matters: RT @sunny_hundal: Nadine Dorries & Frank Field r being dishonest with their abortion proposals http://t.co/TWBAiCE

  151. Nicholas Cram

    RT @sunny_hundal: Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest with their abortion proposals. Here's how http://t.co/RSJRsMx

  152. Anna Hedge

    Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/nySYP6V | Yep….

  153. Andy Bean

    Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/pMCitdb via @libcon

  154. Jonathan Taylor

    Misfits Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest about their abortion proposals: http://t.co/v8l09D6

  155. .

    Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/pMCitdb via @libcon

  156. Wayne Myers

    Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/nySYP6V | Yep….

  157. HouseOfTwitsLab

    RT @Jon2aylor Misfits Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest about their abortion proposals: http://t.co/Cy1bYyI

  158. House Of Twits

    RT @Jon2aylor Misfits Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest about their abortion proposals: http://t.co/ayMCe83

  159. Darren Hanson

    Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest with their abortion proposals. Here's how http://t.co/MryYmxx (frm earlier, more tomorrow)

  160. Rob Sculthorpe

    RT @Jon2aylor Misfits Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest about their abortion proposals: http://t.co/Cy1bYyI

  161. Jamie Paul Healy

    Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/MxcD0nT via @libcon

  162. James Asser

    RT @Jon2aylor Misfits Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest about their abortion proposals: http://t.co/osYEmsV

  163. Dominic Campbell

    Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals | @LibCon http://t.co/bkvuFcC

  164. The Dragon Fairy

    Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals | @LibCon http://t.co/bkvuFcC

  165. Simon Whitehouse

    Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals | @LibCon http://t.co/bkvuFcC

  166. Rev Simon Ward

    RT @Jon2aylor Misfits Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest about their abortion proposals: http://t.co/ayMCe83

  167. Lydia Sibly

    RT @sunny_hundal: Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest with their abortion proposals. Here's how http://t.co/RSJRsMx

  168. Sian Lattimer

    RT @sunny_hundal: Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest with their abortion proposals. Here's how http://t.co/RSJRsMx

  169. Stephe Meloy

    Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest with their abortion proposals. Here's how http://t.co/MryYmxx (frm earlier, more tomorrow)

  170. Joyous from Sunny

    […] Sunny seems to think that making a profit is the only possible financial interest that anyone could have. […]

  171. Catherine Brunton

    Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals | @LibCon http://t.co/bkvuFcC

  172. Richard Maddrell

    Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals http://t.co/qF3PIvB via @zite

  173. christine clifford

    Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals | @LibCon http://t.co/bkvuFcC

  174. Bob Churchill

    It's always hard to make 'dishonest' stick, but Dorries has at least got to be massively self-deluded. http://t.co/XVHLeLa

  175. Bob Churchill

    It's always hard to make 'dishonest' stick, but Dorries has at least got to be massively self-deluded. http://t.co/XVHLeLa

  176. Valeska Matziol

    RT @sunny_hundal: Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest with their abortion proposals. Here's how http://t.co/RSJRsMx

  177. Wanda Serafin

    Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/IAS0NA2 via @libcon

  178. Lucemon

    RT @sunny_hundal: Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest with their abortion proposals. Here's how http://t.co/RSJRsMx

  179. Dave Suez

    RT @sunny_hundal: Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest with their abortion proposals. Here's how http://t.co/RSJRsMx

  180. Conservative MPs come out against Nadine Dorries’ plans | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] posts in this series Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals How the abortion amendments pose a health risk to women […]

  181. Amanda Kendal

    Just to make it clear – #FrankField and #NadineDorries are being "dishonest" with their proposals on abortion. http://t.co/yBavfh5

  182. Katie

    Why Nadine Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/UZECR6W via @libcon

  183. JoCaird

    Old but imp RT @dominiccampbell: Why Dorries & Frank Field are being dishonest on their abortion proposals @LibCon http://t.co/26a8cGr





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