Abortion Rights Update July 2011

Feminist Fightback Feminist Fightback
Update on the latest attempts to restrict access to abortion and attack women’s right to choose a free and safe abortion.

1. Amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill.

Nadine Dorries MP (Conservative) and Frank Field MP (Labour) have tabled 2 amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill.

* Compel any woman seeking an abortion to receive counselling from a organisation that itself does not provide abortion.

*Transfer responsibility for setting clinical guidelines for the care of women seeking induced abortion from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

2. Nadine Dorries 10 minute Rule Bill

Dorries also tabled a 10 minute Rule Bill (a private members Bill) which require schools to provide certain additional sex education to girls aged between 13 and 16 which includes advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity. This passed 67 to 61 votes. The next reading is in January 2012.

The Right to Know Campaign seems to have emerged in support of these amendments.

3. Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV & LIFE

A new sexual health forum has been announced to replace the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV. LIFE have been given a place on this new forum but BPAS (part of the old forum) have been kicked off.  The name of this new forum does not yet seem to have been announced, but it is part of the Department of Health.

4. Anti-choice contracts

In Richmond the Catholic Children’s Society have won a £89,000 contract to provide advice to schoolchildren on matters including contraception and pregnancies.

Another Christian-run charity , Care Confidential, is involved in providing crisis pregnancy advice under the auspices of Newham PCT. Care’s education arm, Evaluate, was one of the founding members, alongside Life, of the Sex and Relationships Council.

Sex and Relationships Education Council (made up of lots of Christian groups including Care, Life, Evaluate) does not have any official role but it is supported by Education Secretary Michael Gove and seems to be well funded.