Monday, September 05, 2011

A need for common sense here?

What a commotion.

MP Nadine Dorries has proposed an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill to the effect that women considering abortion should be offered NHS-funded counselling by an independent organisation that does not itself provide abortions and does not have a financial interest in the women's decision.

Opponents of the amendment say the intention is to take counselling out of the hand of organisations like Maries Stopes and BPAS, who also do abortions (and profit handsomely from them).

Mrs Dorries, who says the abortion lobby has reacted with almost hysterical outrage, claims to have been subjected to constant vilification and near-daily death threats.

Pro-abortion campaigners accuse Mrs Dorries of "pushing things down women's throats." She says independent counselling would only be for women who wanted it. The independent organisation suggested to offer counselling would not be a religious-affiliated group, but the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

(Some pro-lifers have suggested such a move could save 60,000 babies' lives each year).

"All I want is for women to have more choice, more guidance, so they can make a well-informed decision. Why should all these campaigners be anxious about women being offered independent advice?" she says. "If they are really pro-choice as they pretend, they would support my proposal."

Prime Minister David Cameron is said to be sympathetic to pregnant women being able to have independent advice and counselling and he will grant Conservative MPs a free vote on the issue, but he will not vote for the Dorries proposal because he is concerned that it would prevent abortion providers providing counselling as well.

The BBC says the Government has written to all MPs to tell them that health ministers will vote against the Dorries amendment, but Downing Street said no pressure was being applied to Conservative MPs to vote in a particular way.

Archbishop Cranmer says that before the General Election Mr Cameron promised a free vote on the upper time limit for abortion, but said it must remain a conscience issue and a free vote. And when women are offered a free choice in counselling, says Cranmer, what does he do?

"He writes to every Conservative MP, putting pressure on them to vote against the amendment. . . He knows full well that a letter from Government to all his MPs functions effectively as a three-line whip. Those who seek favour and enhancement will cave in, despite 92% of them supporting the amendment in their consciences."

The 92 per cent he mentions refers to a ComRes poll sponsored by the Right to Know Campaign which said that 92 per cent of MPs supported the principle that women considering abortion should have access to advice from someone who had no financial interest in the outcome of their decision.

What a commotion, indeed.

The matter will be debated in the House of Commons tomorrow.

May common sense and righteousness prevail.