Victory for UK Women as Abortion Consultation Axed

A push to further tighten the UK’s abortion laws, that was heavily backed by religious conservatives, has been defeated after the Government announced it would not go forward with a planned consultation.

Reports the Independent:

During a debate in Westminster Hall earlier, [Health Minister] Ms Soubry said she had decided to call off the consultation because the Government had no intention of changing the law, adding that if ministers were to plough on regardless it would be an “otiose exercise”.

The minister added: “There is other work we should be doing on counselling. I take the view that this is not the primary function we should be addressing and that is why I have taken the decision that I have.”

Currently, termination procedures are open under certain circumstances for women up to the 24th week of pregnancy. Statistics show that over 91 percent of abortions are carried out before 12 weeks, and only 1 percent take place after 20 weeks.

This latest attempt to tighten abortion laws saw religious conservative anti-abortion groups attempt to inject their religious counseling into the UK’s abortion requirements. This charge, led by MPs such as Nadine Dorries, saw the Conservative and Lib-Dem coalition government begin, to much condemnation, a consultation on whether the UK’s abortion guidelines should be amended.

Anti-abortion groups wanted a change in the abortion law to bring down the legal window for a termination to as low as 20 weeks, despite the fact that all the main healthcare bodies support the 24 week limit.

Anti-abortion groups also decided to take issue with the fact that clinics which provide termination procedures are currently the only facilities allowed to provide women with the required pre-termination counseling — this, anti-abortion groups charged, meant the women were likely receiving biased information.

Evidence to support these concerns has not been offered however, and it should be pointed out that while termination providers do receive funds from the government, those funds are not target dependent and therefore there would seem no monetary interest in pushing women to have an abortion.

Regardless, the groups wanted their own religious counselors, GPs and other outside groups not affiliated with termination procedures, to be able to provide counseling services to women.

MP Dorries had also called for a greater deferral period where women would be given a larger window of time to consider the abortion procedure before the day of the procedure itself–this proved a less controversial point and was one of several generally non-threatening notions up for debate.

With news that the consultation would not go ahead, Dorries accused Soubry of bias, saying she had put her own beliefs over the interests of women.

Reports the BBC:

She said: “This is quite bizarre. What Anna Soubry has said today doesn’t improve services for women.

“The government has decided that it is not the right decision, and what makes it even more bizarre is that the British Medical Association voted to support the consultation.

“Anna Soubry has a personal belief. What she has done is try to impose her personal belief on her role and that is out of order.”

Indeed, and much to the consternation of women’s rights groups, the British Medical Association had supported a review of the current laws. The BMA, however, released a statement following Dorries claims to clarify that it had not in fact supported the consultation:

Our policy states that we support timely and impartial counselling and advice for women requesting abortion should they wish to receive it. However, we have not called for consultation.

Bpas, Britain’s largest single abortion care provider, praised the decision to abandon the consultation, saying in a statement:

Current abortion counselling arrangements serve women well, and so bpas is pleased to see the government has dropped its plans to unnecessarily overhaul services. Calls to do so had been driven by a handful of MPs with an anti-abortion agenda who wished to create barriers in women’s access to care. bpas hopes that government policy can now focus on efforts to support women trying to prevent pregnancy, and ensure the highest quality care for those who do need abortion services.

Health Minister Soubry did clarify the government will still consider recommendations made by a cross-party group of MPs into possible areas of guideline reform.


Related Reading:

British Cardinal Wants US Style Pre-Abortion Scans

US Style Abortion Protests Raise Intimidation Concerns

Private Abortion Clinics In UK Can Advertise On TV


Image credit: Thinkstock.


rene davis
irene davis5 years ago

Noted, thanks for sharing.

Jane H.
Jane H5 years ago

Women get abortions wether or not they are legal .....conservatives think that slowing the process down will somehow stop women, but it only adds a burden.

madeleine watt
Madeleine watt5 years ago

Bottom line... Pregnancy is between the woman and her Supreme Being. It is NO ONE ELSE"S BUSINESS. Unless we as a planet make male masturbation murder (sperm is alive and is half the pregnancy) there should be no laws just for women.

Charli C.
Charlotte S5 years ago

When will people learn you can't stop abortions. Even if death is the penalty for preforming abortions there are always people who will still preform them. Or women will use coat hangers, dangerous drugs, falling down stairs and many times DEATH to abort an unwanted fetus (which is NOT a BABY or even a HUMAN BEING, It is a POTENTIAL baby/human being) I remember what it was like BEFORE controllable and abortion were legal. My best friend died after a back alley abortion during which she was both raped and sodomized by the man preforming the abortion. He told her it was part of the price and it wasn't like she was a virgin. I never want my kids or grand kids to go through something like this.

Nikolas Karman
Nikolas K5 years ago

As spiritual beings coming here to have a human experience we also choose those experiences and as the great teacher once said when ask what is sin? replied there is no sin, it is you who make it so it by your corrupt nature (thought).

So who are we to condemn the choice of a spiritual being who chooses the path leading to abortion and to interfere in their journey of balancing their Karma. The only beings we can help or fix is ourselves and when we interfere with others we are breaking the laws of the universe starting with their free will.

Patti Ruocco
Patti Ruocco5 years ago

Counseling in women's clinics that provide abortions in the US is supportive and doesn't make a woman feel like crap for any decision she makes---places that provide "Crisis Pregnancy' counseling are places that create emotional violence to the point of emotional rape to those who aren't sure what they want to do...

People who do this counseling need to be supportive and connected...

Steve Oram
Steve Oram5 years ago

“Anna Soubry has a personal belief. What she has done is try to impose her personal belief on her role and that is out of order.”

What an incredible, audacious, outrageous HYPOCRITE Nadine Dorries is. Unbelievable.

Rana Sinha
Rana Sinha5 years ago

Noted, thanks for sharing.

Muriel C.
Muriel C5 years ago

Estee, let me enlighten you. Women whose contraception failed, who got pregnant from rape or incest, etc. are the women who chose to abort, and they do it before the 10th week and their reasons for not wanting to assume the health risks -or the responsibilities- involved with giving birth are unassailable: it is their body and neither you nor anyone else can interfere. These women wouldn't have been affected by the change anyway. The women who abort later don't do it by choice: they do it because the fetus they carry is not viable, or because their health cannot withstand a continuing pregnancy, or because they or their partner- lost their jobs and they can no longer afford the cost of the pregnancy, let alone the cost of raising a child.
Now, Estee, it's too bad you put so much of your soul out for those embryos that you forget that the women carrying them have the right to live and to control the care and use of their own body.

Carole R.
Carole R5 years ago

Thanks for the post.