Diane Abbott quits group over controversial plans

Diane Abbott pic: Alex Hilton

Hackney MP, Diane Abbott has quit a cross-party abortion group in protest over the government’s new plans.

The Shadow Public Health Minister has walked out of a newly formed, cross-party group, which is looking into the counselling for women with unplanned pregnancies.

The group consists of 10 MPs, including Health Minister Anne Milton, and Conservative MPs Nadine Dorries and Louise Mensch. It is planning to strip non-statutory abortion providers, such as Marie Stopes and British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) of their pregnancy counselling roles in an attempt to provide greater opportunities for ‘independent’ councillors.

Abbot described the government’s controversial plans as “unwanted, undemocratic and unsubstantiated with evidence”.

She said: ‘Women in this country want to have choice over their fertility and that is a basic human right. It is crucial that we maintain women’s access to impartial, non-directive and clinical information on pregnancy choices.

“At the moment, there is a duty for women to be fully informed about the choices available to her – including alternatives to an abortion.”

The proposal was rejected by parliament in September last year and a recent survey revealed that only a quarter of people in Britain support the new amendments. Despite these factors, Abbott says the group is continuing to push through the planned proposals.

She said: “It’s a group of ‘Tea-Party Tories’ who are determined to plough ahead, despite these policies being decisively rejected by parliament, by the medical profession and also by the British public. I think we need to fight back against these policies.”

Speaking to The Guardian,  Conservative backbencher, Nadine Dorries described how it was wrong for abortion providers to counsel women with unplanned pregnancies.

She said:”It must be wrong that the abortion provider, who is paid to the tune of £60m to carry out terminations, should also provide the counselling if a woman feels strong or brave enough to ask for it. If an organisation is paid that much for abortions, where is the incentive to reduce them?”

Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service are both non-profit making charities.

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