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Abortion remains an issue of ethics, science, and individual attitude. Some people are as “progressive” as to advice on eliminating unplanned pregnancy, which would consequently solve the problem of abortion. However, while women continue to find themselves, for whatever reason, in the position of having to make this decision, an issue of doing the right thing still remains.
This is the issue Nadine Dorries, a Conservative MP of the British Parliament, is trying to tackle. In an attempt to reduce the numbers of terminated pregnancy in the UK, she has proposed amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill that would allow only “independent” bodies to carry out counseling on abortion.
Currently this is done by abortion services providers, which, quite logically, raises the issue of conflict of interests and bias toward termination of pregnancy, since abortion providers are paid for each abortion they carry out. However, the legislators assert that the abortion advice providers are under austere statutory regulation.
The opponents of the amendments point out that there is no way to ensure that the “independent” organizations will be unbiased, and that some of these “independent” abortion advice providers could be biased toward a Christian idea of abortion being a sin. Although Ms. Dorries opposes the idea of counselors being faith-based organizations, she does not provide for any means of ensuring they are not.
While the Prime Minister, David Cameron, is “personally sympathetic” to attempts for providing more advice to women, he has announced that he does not support the proposal for amendments since it prevents abortion providers from giving advice on the matter. He has not explained, however, why he is of such an opinion.
His position is shared by health care professionals. Health ministers, among others, have expressed a concern that such amendments would only create more bureaucracy and restrict access to abortion for those in need. The Department of Health promotes more choice for women with regard to abortion advice, asserting that the opportunities for counseling should be extended, not replaced.
Conservative MPs are said to have free vote on the matter, but the overall support of the proposal seems to be weak. Whether this is unwillingness to implement changes in the system that seems to be working fine, pressure from abortion providers, or simple practicality is for the British to decide.