Azara Blog: Another anti-abortion parliamentary bill introduced

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Date published: 2007/06/04

The BBC says:

A new bid to alter current abortion laws is to be made in Parliament - the third such attempt in eight months.

Ann Winterton's bill would require women to be counselled about possible ill-effects, then to wait a week to consider them before going ahead.

The Conservative MP will argue that abortion can pose a risk to women's long term mental health.

But pro-choice groups say it is the latest in a "concerted campaign" in Parliament to restrict women's rights.

Mrs Winterton, who is vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary pro-life group, will argue that many women who have abortions suffer long-term mental health problems.

She wants compulsory counselling - rather than the voluntary counselling offered currently - and a seven-day "cooling off" period, to allow time for second thoughts.

And her Termination of Pregnancy (Counselling and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill will also include a provision that doctors record whether abortions are being performed on physical or mental grounds.

But the pro-choice group Abortion Rights, said the bill would force women to receive counselling regardless of their wishes.

Abortion Rights director Anne Quesney said the bill showed "no compassion for women or respect for women's ability to make their own abortion decision" and said the time delay would effectively pressurise women to change their minds.

"It is a short-sighted, desperate attempt to criminalise abortion. Forty years since abortion was legalised in Britain, it is time to move forward, not back," she added.

And the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said delaying abortions went against good medical practice.

Chief Executive Ann Furedi said women were already offered counselling and were given information about the effects, adding: "Women don't need Parliament to tell them to think carefully about abortion."

The latest ploy of the anti-abortionists. Pretend that you are concerned about the woman, not just about the foetus. Considering how much these anti-abortionists always harp on about morality, they are some of the most hypocritical and insincere people going. They have one aim and one aim only, to stop all abortions.

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