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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Abortion counselling amendment to sneak in through the back door

Posted: Fri, 27 Jan 2012 11:16

Abortion counselling amendment to sneak in through the back door

This week, Nadine Dorries MP failed to get a second reading for her amendment proposing that abstinence teaching should be promoted in schools - but only to girls, which we wrote about here.

Now the Government has been accused of pushing ahead with her plans to strip abortion providers of their role in counselling women despite her amendment on the issue suffering a heavy defeat in the Commons last year.

MPs voted by a majority of 250 to reject Ms Dorries' amendment in September. It was intended to make women to see 'independent' counsellors before they have an abortion rather than be advised by abortion providers like Marie Stopes International or the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

Public health minister Anne Milton said just before the vote that the Government would try to implement the spirit of Dorries' proposal without the need for legislation. She said: "The Government supports the spirit of the amendments, and we intend to present proposals for regulations after consultation."

It now appears that this is exactly what has happened.

Shadow public health minister Diane Abbott said she had walked out of a new cross-party abortion group set up by the Government to look at the issue of counselling following the defeat. She said: "I now believe the 'consultation' will be a front for driving through the anti-choice lobbyists' preferred option without legislation or a debate on the floor of the House."

As we wrote in Newsline at the time, allegedly independent bodies of the kind promoted by Ms Dorries do in fact have a strong religious agenda and use a wide variety of manipulative, emotive and factually wrong tactics to talk women out of having abortions. We also wrote about how Ms Dorries manipulated facts in support of the amendment.

Nadine Dorries is on record as saying that her political blog is "70% fiction and 30% fact" and that "I have chosen the facts I wish to believe".

Tags: Reproductive Rights, Sex Education