Revealed: govt to restrict abortion counselling despite Nadine Dorries vote


by Sunny Hundal    
10:16 am - January 27th 2012

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The Department of Health is planning to bar independent organisations such as BPAS from offering abortion counselling to women in an already-agreed “stitch-up”, I can reveal today.

The plans are in place even though Nadine Dorries lost her vote in Parliament last year to stop organisations that provided abortion services to offer counselling.

A source who was close to Dorries’ campaign said the Conservative MP had already agreed a “stitch-up” with the health minister Anne Milton on the issue even before the vote was lost 368 – 118.

The issue came back on the agenda this week when the Sunday Telegraph revealed that the government was planning to “radically reform” abortion counselling services.

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

The article prompted Shadow Health minister Diane Abbott to resign yesterday from the government’s secretive cross-party committee on abortion counselling.

She told Newsnight last night that she feared the government was planning to press ahead with changes to counselling services regardless, under the guise of a cross-party and public consultation.

In the same debate Nadine Dorries MP herself admitted she still wanted to stop abortion providers from offering counselling to women despite numerous studies showing BPAS and Marie Stopes International followed strict Dept of Health guidelines.

In contrast, opening up counselling services would make it easier for religious organisations to offer counselling services. Undercover investigations by Newsnight and by Education for Choice last year found such groups offering very biased and wrong abortion advice to vulnerable women.

Last night Abortion Rights issued a statement saying:

It is unsurprising that Diane Abbott has felt the need to withdraw from the counselling group. It is clear that the government is not interested in either the will of Parliament, which rejected these proposals last year, or in the results of its own consultation on the issue.

Anti-choice MPs such as Nadine Dorries have a direct line to Anne Milton. It is clear she will do their bidding, regardless of evidence, public opinion or patient safety. These plans put politics before women’s health.

But Diane Abbott’s resignation did not come as a huge surprise to some. Even though the government claims it will consult the public and MPs before making any changes – my source close to Dorries’ campaign said the decision was inevitable.

“They won’t touch MSI [Maries Stopes International] but BPAS is on its way out. They’ve already stitched it up.”

The changes are expected to be made through what is called secondary legislation.

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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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Reader comments


So she should apologise to Diane Abbot who she smeared on Newsnight.

So she is a liar, and Cameron is a liar and a coward. But we already knew this.

A news exclusive based on a single anonymous source! Wasn’t there something in the Leveson Inquiry about this?

the government’s secretive cross-party committee on abortion counselling.

In what way was it secretive?

By the way, thanks again Lie Dems for this shitty govt. Propping up a govt who is in league with the anti abortionist scum. David Steele must be so proud.

Frankly a theme starts to form with this government, where one of the Houses of parliament expresses a will – and rather than adapting to appease the house – the government openly tries to do the same thing anyway, through technical manipulation, or just implementing the changes regardless.

Look at the disgusting amendments attempted by Lord Freud on the WRB before this for example, or the minimal changes under consultation to the NHS changes.

It’s very disappointing for a person such as me, who has an interest in politics, to realise how much power our politicians have to do stuff without parliamentary approval.

Frankly, and depressingly, the political day to day machinations are becoming increasingly irrelevant in what a government actually does, and the only really important thing to the direction of the country is how the Party leaders are portrayed by the mass media before each election.

Tim J – depends on the source. Even Washpo and NYT quote anonymous sources depending on their strength

1 sally I agree,

5 – fair enough, provided you’re right. For most news agencies, a single anonymous source is a balls to the wall moment – luckily you won’t have to fire yourself if you’re wrong!

http://blogs.reuters.com/reuters-editors/2008/07/17/anonymous-sources-reuters-rules/

@5 and 7 – there should be an assumption though that all sources are revealed unless doing so would place the source at risk. That way we distinguish between ‘I used the copy and paste function on a press release’, ‘I was drinking with my mate who works for a PR firm’ type stories, and ‘I read several research reports whilst writing this story’ and ‘I checked this with several people from different parties’ type stories.

Stitch-up or not, the DoH still has to undertake a public consultation and secondary legislation is still subject to a parliamentary vote, so there are avenues to pursue here.

anti abortionist scum

This doesn’t sound right to me, pro abortionist scum maybe, but is anyone truly pro abortion?

And the source is, Diane Abbott!

Actually the source is NOT Diane Abbott – I wish I could reveal who it was but it just isn’t possible.

Unity – yes, perhaps. But the govt has frequently ignored consultations too. And they will this time.

It’s to be expected really, if abortion is the thing that keeps you awake at night, and you regard it as murder, then you will go to any lengths to stop it happening. Though it might be helpful if anti-abortionists weren’t generally wedded to political parties that tend to make conditions worse for single mothers, low income mothers, young mothers, and their children by being VERY concerned with women apparently having kids to claim benefits etc.

13 But anti abortionists are not that bothered by so called “life” Many of these peopl are also pro death penalty and pro oil wars.

That is not the case with the Catholic church. For them it is a matter of keeping woman under control. Mother Teresa would have done far more good in the slums promoting birth control.

What drives these people is their hatred of woman controlling their sexuality.

Sally – There were (and are) already plenty of people in the slums promoting birth control. Mother Teresa’s concern was with the people living and dying in extreme destitution, with no-one to give them a gesture of comfort.

Mother Teresa’s concern was with the people living and dying in extreme destitution, with no-one to give them a gesture of comfort.

By all accounts Mother Teresa was very good at gestures of comfort. Though perhaps spending more of the millions donated to her on those people, or at least on improved facilities, might have been a better help.

17. Chaise Guevara

@ 16 Cylux

Let’s not demonise. Mother Theresa, to her credit, dedicated her life to doing what she thought was the right thing, but from a wider and more accurate perspective it turns out that what she thought were “right things” were in fact wrong. Correct?

18. Leon Wolfeson

@9 – Incorrect. Secondary legislation involves the GOVERNMENT using powers granted it by primary legislation.

Moreover, consultations in this country are routinely ignored.

@17 Lest we forget, Tony Blair thought invading Iraq as part of the coalition of the willing was ‘the right thing to do’. Doesn’t seem to prevent criticism of his actions.

Cylux @ 13

If anti abortionists are concerned so much about ‘life’ there are plenty of places where such resourceful people could be put to good use. Millions of babies are dying in the wombs of starving mothers all across Africa and Asia. Not to mention those young children dying in those continents as well.

If Nadine Dorries or the rest of the screaming hordes were really bothered about the death of children, they would be in the plains of Africa ensuring the poor were being fed.

I wonder what will happen if the welfare reforms lead to more abortions, will she be campaigning for a reverse of these reforms.

Dorries and the lice that follow her are ‘anti abortion’, nothing more and nothing less. The anti abortionists attempt to dress up their anti abortionistism as ‘pro life’. Again thanks to the cackhanded approach of the Left, they get away with that Scott free.

21. Leon Wolfeson

@20 – They’d be on the streets of Britain ensuring people were fed, even.

22. Chaise Guevara

@ 19 Cylux

Who’s trying to prevent criticisms of people’s actions? There were good things about Blair and Theresa and bad things about Blair and Theresa.

23. So Much For Subtlety

16. Cylux

By all accounts Mother Teresa was very good at gestures of comfort. Though perhaps spending more of the millions donated to her on those people, or at least on improved facilities, might have been a better help.

So, Cylux, by all means, tell us what you have been doing for the poor and sick of Calcutta that gives you the right to pass comment on a woman who devoted her entire life to bringing some comfort to the dying. Who in fact gave up all comfort and happiness in order to bring some comfort to the dying. Whereas you have done what? Sat on the couch all day? Worked in a nice warm office?

Chaise Guevara

Let’s not demonise. Mother Theresa, to her credit, dedicated her life to doing what she thought was the right thing, but from a wider and more accurate perspective it turns out that what she thought were “right things” were in fact wrong. Correct?

I am not exactly sure that what she did was wrong. More accurate? Would this be the perspective that says Mother Teresa was wrong not to concentrate all her available funds to provide First World hospice care to a trivial number of patients rather than the bare minimum to as many Third World patients as possible? By all means, tell me why that is wrong.

Mother Teresa sacrificed her life to doing the right thing. Period. No doubt if she had tens of billions at her disposal, she could have done more. She did not. She made do with what she had. Perhaps if people like Cylux hadn’t simply killed Kroeger with his mouth but had given her Order more money, she could have done more. But they didn’t.

Jim @ 20:

Firstly, that’s whataboutery. People can’t solve every problem in the world, so it makes sense to focus on one and let other people focus on other problems. Secondly, I think you’ll find that lots of organisations which oppose abortion also do work helping the poor.

25. So Much For Subtlety

20. Jim

If anti abortionists are concerned so much about ‘life’ there are plenty of places where such resourceful people could be put to good use. Millions of babies are dying in the wombs of starving mothers all across Africa and Asia. Not to mention those young children dying in those continents as well.

No they are not. Lots of children perhaps but not millions of unborn babies.

If Nadine Dorries or the rest of the screaming hordes were really bothered about the death of children, they would be in the plains of Africa ensuring the poor were being fed.

Just as we can assume if you were really bothered about the death of children you would be on the plains of African ensuring the poor are being fed? You’re not are you?

Is Scot-free a politically incorrect racist term these days?

XXX @ 24

People can’t solve every problem in the world, so it makes sense to focus on one and let other people focus on other problems

Funny that? Funny how the strutting little bigots on the Christian Right, ‘allow’ others to campaign against mass starvation, war, poverty and the like, while they get ‘left’ to hurl abuse at women in abortion centres?

Dorries and the rest of the lice must be the unluckiest people on the planet because they always appear to draw the short straw. It appears whenever they dole out the jobs for saving the innocent from death, she gets left to tackle abortion while those other people get do the real stuff that actually is aimed at saving people. If she really cared about saving life, she could be at the local Oxfam centre selling jumble.

Secondly, I think you’ll find that lots of organisations which oppose abortion also do work helping the poor.

They can hold their head up and call themsevles ‘pro life’. If you campaign against premature death from all causes, then we can call that ‘pro life’, but Dorries ONLY ever campaigns against abortion. She is npt ‘pro life’ because she is quite happy to see millions of babies die every year without a peep from her.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  25. sunny hundal

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  31. Darryl Hansard

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  32. Darryl Hansard

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  33. Sodomy Octagon

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  37. emmie baker larner

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  41. Dannyboy

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  42. Tim Ireland

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  43. Cal Bryant

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  44. Max Dunbar

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  46. Cal Bryant

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  50. Sean O'Halloran

    Absolutely fuming about this: http://t.co/E4VL125S

  51. doeeyedcabbage

    RT @thebobbu: Nadine #Dorries is evil. There is no other description possible. Now she's ignoring democracy. http://t.co/UeQAHucT

  52. anarchic_teapot

    Nadine Dorries seeks to impose her religious agenda on women regardless of parliament's vote. This is wrong. Please RT http://t.co/UqI01zvN

  53. Rebecca LS

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  58. DarkestAngel

    Absolutely fuming about this: http://t.co/E4VL125S

  59. Lorna Kelly

    Nadine #Dorries is evil. There is no other description possible. Now she's ignoring democracy. http://t.co/EJ2w7zQ7

  60. Vicky Kapoor

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  61. R M Wragg Sykes

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  72. Amy Hightower

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  81. Link: “govt to restrict abortion counselling despite Nadine Dorries vote” | Help Me Investigate Health

    [...] Liberal Conspiracy blog claims that despite losing a vote on the issue last year, plans to “radically reform” abortion [...]

  82. David Weir

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  83. Panda

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  88. Peter Collins

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  89. TimTiminytimtimtaroo

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  93. Benefits bust-ups, pre-budget posturing and toxic health reforms: political blog round up 21 -27 January | British Politics and Policy at LSE

    [...] Conspiracy reveals the government’s plans to limit abortion counselling. You may also be interested in the following posts (automatically [...]

  94. Andrew Martin

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  95. Noxi

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  96. Gemma Tombs

    http://t.co/R2UNpDt4 Looks like the vote means nothing here. Dorries gets her way on abortion providers counselling women.

  97. Josh Kutchinsky

    RT @libcon: Revealed: govt to restrict abortion counselling http://t.co/Om0Ya1k8 Government to encourage more abortions?

  98. H. O.

    Revealed: govt to restrict abortion counselling despite Nadine Dorries vote | Sunny Hundal http://t.co/raksjEUN via @libcon





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