Government launches abortion advice service


Pregnant women considering an abortion will be offered independent counselling under Government plans to be announced next week. MPs will debate proposals to prevent organisations that carry out terminations – such as Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service – offering pre-abortion counselling. Tory MP Nadine Dorries, who backs such a ban, said the independent advice would not be compulsory but an option. She said her aim was not to achieve fewer abortions but that could be the consequence, which would be "good".

Evan Harris, a former Liberal Democrat MP and GP, warned the proposal would not provide an independent service for women. He said: "They are going to be pushed into the clutches of anti-abortion religious organisations."

The Department of Health said: "These proposals are focused on women's health. Final decisions on who should provide this counselling have not yet been made."