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Abortion witch-hunt flops in Lansley’s face


1:31 pm - July 12th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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In April this year health secretary Andrew Lansley forced the Care Quality Commission to drop everything and do spot-checks on abortion clinics.

The intention was to try and catch out BPAS – an independent abortion provider that Nadine Dorries is leading a crusade against – and to smear independent abortion providers more broadly. The Dept of Health is determined to ‘prove’ that the current crop of independent abortion providers are inadequate.

Later it was revealed that the politically-driven witch-hunt had cost £1m, with hundreds of other important inspections cancelled.

Then it turned out that only a very small percentage of clinics (none of which were independent) had limited breaches of forms not being signed properly.

Today the CQC revealed that even at these places with limited breaches, it “did not find any evidence that any women had poor outcomes of care”.

The limited breaches at some NHS Trusts were that two doctors did not always sign off an abortion. There is no good reason why abortions need two signatures anyway.

Moreover, this incident highlights Andrew Lansley’s own hypocrisy (hat-tip @bpas1968)

In 2008 he questioned the need for two signatures for every abortion:

Secondly, if a woman needs an abortion in terms sanctioned by the Abortion Act 1967, it must surely be better for it to be an early, medical abortion than a later, surgical one. I therefore hope that the House will consider whether the requirement for two doctors to consent to an abortion being performed, and the restrictions on nurses providing medical abortions, need to be maintained.

Today he sent out a statement saying: “I am shocked and appalled to learn that some clinics may be allowing Doctors to pre-sign abortion certificates.”

The man has no shame in using abortion as a political football.

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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


1. Man on Clapham Omnibus

How does questioning whether two doctors are necessary to sign equate with shock over pre-signing abortion certificates? Wooly thinking as usual.

Not really, if you’d have seen if you delved a bit into the issue. The process pf pre-signing the forms by one doctor effectively ensures that the patient only needs to undergo the full consultation procedure with the other.

3. margin4error

Didn’t Nadine Dorries raise this recently – nly to be slapped down by a medical body suggesting that some forms were not double signed because of things like the doctor dying?

“Today he sent out a statement saying: “I am shocked and appalled to learn that some clinics may be allowing Doctors to pre-sign abortion certificates.”

The man has no shame in using abortion as a political football.”

Im sorry, but I get the distinct impression that this is somehow supportive of the practices of pre signing abortion certificates, even where they have not seen the patient. Are you seriously, in the slightest, supporting this behaviour?

5. White Trash

In a Free society, Freeman, surely people should be Free to treat their own bodies as they see fit, and not be dictated to by officious jobsworths. If a woman wants an abortion she should have an abortion, without all this nonsense about two bureaucrats/doctors giving their gracious permission.

Lansley was right when he was in opposition – funny how politicians are so often right when in opposition, and then often so spectacularly wrong when they get power, isn’t it – ” I therefore hope that the House will consider whether the requirement for two doctors to consent to an abortion being performed, and the restrictions on nurses providing medical abortions, need to be maintained.” Yes indeed. Just a pity he hasn’t got the moral fibre to stay consistent with such sensible views now he is in a position to make a difference.

“White trash”

“If a woman wants an abortion she should have an abortion, without all this nonsense about two bureaucrats/doctors giving their gracious permission.”

I thought it was a question of compliance with the law as it currently stands?

One man’s law-breaking is another man’s “limited breach”.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Foxy52

    From earlier: Witch-hunt of independent abortion providers blows up in Andrew Lansley’s face http://t.co/7Twe5S0J

  2. Clive Burgess

    From earlier: Witch-hunt of independent abortion providers blows up in Andrew Lansley’s face http://t.co/7Twe5S0J

  3. Indra Persaud

    From earlier: Witch-hunt of independent abortion providers blows up in Andrew Lansley’s face http://t.co/7Twe5S0J

  4. Ashwin Kumar

    From earlier: Witch-hunt of independent abortion providers blows up in Andrew Lansley’s face http://t.co/7Twe5S0J

  5. Just Counsel

    From earlier: Witch-hunt of independent abortion providers blows up in Andrew Lansley’s face http://t.co/7Twe5S0J

  6. Christine Hill

    From earlier: Witch-hunt of independent abortion providers blows up in Andrew Lansley’s face http://t.co/7Twe5S0J

  7. Bearminable

    From earlier: Witch-hunt of independent abortion providers blows up in Andrew Lansley’s face http://t.co/7Twe5S0J

  8. Gingercats

    From earlier: Witch-hunt of independent abortion providers blows up in Andrew Lansley’s face http://t.co/7Twe5S0J

  9. David Cameroon

    On WebCameroon Direct: Andrew Langsley plays political football with abortion – http://t.co/iocsWsDX /via @sunny_hundal

  10. Alana Ward

    From earlier: Witch-hunt of independent abortion providers blows up in Andrew Lansley’s face http://t.co/7Twe5S0J

  11. Ashley Hale

    On WebCameroon Direct: Andrew Langsley plays political football with abortion – http://t.co/iocsWsDX /via @sunny_hundal

  12. KeNaEstoHunCha

    From earlier: Witch-hunt of independent abortion providers blows up in Andrew Lansley’s face http://t.co/7Twe5S0J

  13. spoonlamp

    Witch-hunt of abortion providers blows up in Andrew Lansley's face http://t.co/7Twe5S0J (via @bpas1968)

  14. Naomi Phillips

    From earlier: Witch-hunt of independent abortion providers blows up in Andrew Lansley’s face http://t.co/7Twe5S0J

  15. AbortionSupportNtwk

    Abortion witch-hunt flops in Lansley’s face http://t.co/nZX8mWq8

  16. BevR

    Abortion witch-hunt flops in Lansley’s face | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/PewktjSL via @libcon

  17. Rob Danily

    The classic 2 faced Politician…
    http://t.co/ULBnsyKD
    #nhs #andrewlansley

  18. Pucci D

    RT @libcon: Abortion witch-hunt blows up in Andrew Lansley's face http://t.co/pl853yeH #waronwomen

  19. Brendan Armstrong

    From earlier: Witch-hunt of independent abortion providers blows up in Andrew Lansley’s face http://t.co/7Twe5S0J

  20. christina sosseh

    Abortion witch-hunt flops in Lansley’s face | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/1oKVInOR via @libcon

  21. Stephen Crabtree

    Abortion witch-hunt flops in Lansley’s face | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Y2vhFiTh via @libcon

  22. G Phi

    Abortion witch-hunt flops in Lansley’s face | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/4r1G1GGf via @libcon





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