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There is an extremist in Parliament. There may be many, but I’m thinking of Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire. I don’t like Tory MPs at the best of time but this one… I’m worried is dangerous.

There is a new proposal from Nadine Dorries, a Tory MP. She wants doctors to be forced to inform abortion-seeking women that  there is other advice available. While they are currently referred to groups such as Marie Stopes, Nadine Dorries wants them to be also referred to “independent” clinics. However, many of these clinics are little more than Christian evangelical, pro-life (or anti-abortion) pressure groups.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Christians…

[goes on for twenty minutes about how some of his best friends are Christians]

…but I DO NOT think that we need religion in our political process. I don’t want the morality of one, incredibly small, minority, group of extreme Christians (or any religion) affecting the lives of everyone. My two cents.

Now for my five bucks.

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Nadine Dorries is one of the main proponents of a change to the latest NHS reforms. The government seems to be supportive of mandating doctors to refer women looking for an abortion to “independent” clinics. That just aren’t.

At the moment, doctors refer women to Marie Stopes or BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service). Dories seem to claim that since the NHS pays them to perform abortions, they must be biased, and give women the wrong advice. She wants the government to mandate doctors to inform women that there are other independent advisory services.

Marie Stopes and BPAS are, admittedly, funded to perform abortions.  But the NHS only supports between 60 and 90% of abortions. Only around 70% of BPAS funding comes from the NHS (please ignore that scandal *whistles*).

These groups don’t make a profit from their advice, or by providing abortions. Any profit made would go back into improving services. They don’t answer to shareholders who demand returns.

Around 20% of women do not get an abortion following advice from BPAS, so they clearly don’t seem to force women into it.

They are also heavily regulated by the Department of Health. If Dorries has a problem with their advice, take it up with the Department. Or take it up with the advice given to them by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which they are obliged to follow.

I personally cannot see a conflict of interest. I have seen NO evidence that BPAS or Marie Stopes offer anything but impartial advice in the best interest of the woman. I genuinely think this is as impartial as we’re going to get.

Can we get more impartial organisations?

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But this is of secondary importance. The answer to this is to reform BPAS, if there are issues.

My main problem is with Dorries’ answer to this perceived problem.

Encouraging women to take advice from evangelical, pro-life clinics, who use emotions to drag women away from abortions, regardless of their situation.

Dorries claimed in the Daily Mail (typical) that “This won’t be offered by any religion-affiliated groups, but by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy…”

But the amendment just claims that “information, advice and counselling is independent where it is provided by either — (i)a private body that does not itself provide for the termination of pregnancies; or (ii) a statutory body.” Not explicitly preventing religious-agenda groups getting involved. It would only prevent Marie Stopes and BPAS doing their job properly, and would not prevent fundamentalist groups putting in bids for contracts with the NHS.

I worry, strongly, that Dorries wants doctors to have to inform women of the existence of, so-called, “independent” clinics. Which aren’t. They have an agenda, as does she.

Please bear in mind that one of Nadine Dorries’ advisors is Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship

“…who led the anti-abortion campaign Alive and Kicking, and whose ultimate aim is to ban abortions, even in the case of rape, severe disability or risk to the woman. There are already “pregnancy crisis centres” affiliated to Care, a Christian group, and to Life, an anti-abortion, pro-abstinence charity recently appointed to a government advisory panel on sexual health.”

So, she’s not exactly unbiased.  So why wouldn’t she want to promote the agenda of groups such as this? I’m very suspicious.

These are the types of groups our doctors may be forced to advise women of their existence.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we need to ban them. They have the right to exist. Women have a right to seek their advice. Women can, and should, seek all the advice they can get when addressing an issue as monumental as abortion. But these guys? Seriously?

What riles me the most is the belief that they are “independent”. They’re not. They push their own agenda, and when women looking for advice, in a vulnerable state, go to them, believing they’re independent… I’m worried about the effects.

A researching recently went undercover at 10 such faith based centres. She faced councillors who were “not qualified” to answer questions on physical aspects of abortion, on a helpline. In person, a councillor showed her baby clothes – can we get a worse appeal to emotions?

At a Life centre in Covent Garden, London, the undercover researcher was given a leaflet entitled Abortions – How they’re Done, which said incorrectly that 85% of abortions are carried out using vacuum aspiration. It stated that “the unborn child is sucked down the tube” and that “the woman should wear some protection. She has to dispose of the corpse [in the case of chemically induced abortion].”

“The counsellor frequently referred to “The Journey” – a training manual – and handed out photocopied pages from its 10-step “road to abortion recovery”, including steps entitled “guilt and shame” and “forgiveness”.”

“Other sections of the manual (which were not given to the researcher) state: “Part of the healing journey to post-abortion recovery involves repentance – the only remedy for guilt. If we are to walk this journey with a woman then we need to clearly see which boundaries she has crossed … immorality, coveting, lying, as well as taking innocent life.”

I don’t mind these groups existing. I would even accept a doctor telling a prospective patient that other advice groups exist. But tell people what the truth is. Don’t call them “independent”. Show their agenda for what it is. Taking away the right to choose.

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Feel free to comment, to support, berate or debate. Keep it clean, this is an emotive topic. But feel free to weigh in. Any non-offensive/aggressive comments will be answered.  Come on in 🙂

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