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Abortion clause defeated

October 2011

Abortion clause defeated

On 7 September, MPs voted by a majority of 250 against an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill which aimed to ensure women were offered independent abortion counselling.
    The amendment, which had been tabled by former nurse and businesswoman, Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, and backed by several leading MPs, was overturned.
    On her blog, the MP for Mid-Bedfordshire said of the vote, ‘Politics then was certainly at its dirtiest and most complex. I would never have thought the Liberal Democrats would have applied so much pressure to prevent women having greater choice’.
    Philippa Taylor, head of public policy for the Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF), said, ‘While we are disappointed at the level of opposition to the aim of the proposed amendment, the heart of this debate has always been the women facing an unplanned pregnancy.
    ‘There is little disagreement that counselling is essential, so every woman is able to come to a genuinely informed choice based on accurate, impartial and comprehensive information on all the options open to her’.
    The CMF said it welcomed health minister Anne Milton’s commitment to work within the spirit of the amendment to ‘offer a choice of independent counselling’.

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