Nadine Dorries Controversial Abortion Clause

So-called ‘women’s issues’ are never the easiest to discuss and this unease doesn’t exclude the House of Parliament which is set to debate later today the controversial amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill. Tabled by backbench Tory MP Nadine Dorries and Labour’s Frank Field, abortion has been thrust into the forefront of the news agenda recently and has unsurprisingly ruffled a few feathers amongst women’s groups and fellow MPs. The proposal seeks to reduce the current 200,000 abortions taking place on average every year by 60, 000. Sounds like a sensible plan doesn’t it – especially when a third of those 200,000 are repeat abortions? But that certainly isn’t the general consensus at the moment.

Luckily I happened to be watching Sunday Morning Live last week and tuned into a 20-minute give or take, quite in-depth and fiery discussion of the bill, which in a nutshell is calling for all women seeking an abortion to be offered independent counselling away from and on a separate premises to the clinic where the abortion would be carried out – cancelling out charities such as Marie Stopes who offer abortion services. According to Dorries the counselling is not compulsory, but if the law is passed it will become mandatory for abortion clinics to offer women access to this counselling. The reasoning behind it to me sounds rational, Dorries feels that there is a financial conflict of interest in advising women seeking terminations, which makes perfect sense considering on average 96% of these are paid for, but with strict impartiality regulations and a shared concern for women’s welfare, is it fair to accuse these charities of railroading women into having terminations? Are her defaming assertions even substantiated? Of course, Marie Stopes and various others have spoken out against the accusations, and a rival bill has been produced, but the fear is that if we push already vulnerable and confused women out of the hands of non-judgemental and professional organisations we’ll be taking a giant leap backwards.

Personally, I don’t see the logic in why some people have argued this is somehow making it harder for women to obtain abortions, thus intensifying an already distressing time, but I certainly don’t believe that this is something for men in suits to discuss and then toss to the side. Which is what will happen as David Cameron is firmly against it. Fortunately, I’ve never been in a situation with an unwanted pregnancy, but the only people who should decide whether this bill is passed are the brave women who have sat in a consultation room with a nurse or counsellor considering their ‘options’. They are at the head of this debate and only they know whether there are in fact negligent practices where abortion is concerned. But if this is the case, then I am all for partisan counselling. There are enormous physical and mental risks attached to terminations, perhaps even more so the younger the mother, so I don’t fully understand why there is such a huge outcry against what seems to me to be reasonable and maybe beneficial.

Please let me know what you think of this sensitive matter, I would love to hear from some women who have been through it.

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