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Wednesday 19th June 2019

Abortion advice change rejected

8th September 2011

MPs have voted against a proposal to change the law on abortion counselling.

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Conservative MP Nadine Dorries wanted to stop abortion providers giving NHS-funded counselling to women, in a move she said was about offering women more choice.

However, MPs voted 368 to 118 against her proposal to offer women the choice of independent counselling.

Despite this, the government has announced that it would consult on improving abortion counselling for women.

Ms Dorries had proposed changing the statutory duties the NHS must provide to include "independent information, advice and counselling services for women requesting termination of pregnancy".

She argued that private abortion providers should not be considered independent.

That issue was not put to the vote but MPs did vote on another of her amendments, proposing instead to offer women "the option of receiving independent" counselling and advice.

Health Minister Anne Milton, who had urged Ms Dorries to withdraw her amendments, said the government was “supportive of the spirit” of the amendments but it was not necessary to put it in primary legislation.

Afterwards, Ms Dorries said she had achieved her aim from the debate by getting the government to agree to consult about abortion advice.

Shadow public health minister Diane Abbott said the amendment suggested those involved in abortion counselling were ignoring advice and guidelines.

Women seeking an abortion need the consent of two doctors, either through an NHS clinic or GP surgery, or at a private provider affiliated to the NHS and staff have a duty to provide impartial and objective counselling.


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