Wednesday, 7 September 2011

MPs reject Nadine Dorries' proposal to change law on abortion counselling

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Nadine Dorries
Following a debate in the House of Commons this afternoon, MPs have voted overwhelmingly against an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill tabled by the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, which proposed requiring GPs to offer women seeking abortions counselling from "a private body that does not itself provide for the termination of pregnancies" or a "statutory body".

The amendment, which was widely viewed as an attempt by anti-abortion campaigners to increase the obstacles faced by women seeking abortion (see this excellent piece by Suzanne Moore from Saturday's Guardian), would have prevented abortion providers such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service or Marie Stopes from providing counselling, with anti-abortion groups potentially stepping in to take their place. It was defeated by 368 votes to 118, following a combative and highly defensive debating performance by Dorries, who had earlier clashed with David Cameron during PMQs.

More information on the Guardian's live politics blog.
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