Cameron opposes abortion amendment
Thursday 01 September 2011
David Cameron will not support backbench efforts to strip abortion providers of their role in counselling women considering a termination, it has emerged.
The Prime Minister is said to be "personally sympathetic" to calls by Conservative MP Nadine Dorries for more advice for women in that position.
But he opposes her attempt to prevent organisations like Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service being allowed to offer support.
Ms Dorries, backed by Labour MP Frank Field, is hoping to secure a Commons vote on the issue next week when MPs consider the Health and Social Care Bill.
She has tabled an amendment which she says is designed to prevent organisations with a financial interest in performing terminations from providing advice to women.
Downing Street sources said Mr Cameron would not be supporting the amendment if it was called by Commons Speaker John Bercow.
The Prime Minister might vote against it but is more likely to abstain. His backbenchers will have a free vote.
The Department of Health is set to consult later this year on proposals to improve access to information and advice for women thinking of having an abortion.
A spokeswoman said: "The discussions currently under way do not represent any moral shift in the Government's approach to abortion as an issue, and there are no changes to the Abortion Act involved.
"Instead, the concern is to ensure that women, in what is an extremely difficult and often traumatic situation, have access to information and counselling that best meets their needs. We will continue to discuss this with all involved in the debate.
"We plan to consult widely on these proposals later this year."
After reports that the Government had initially been planning to tighten up abortion law, shadow equalities minister Yvette Cooper accused the Government of being in "confusion and chaos" on the issue.
"Once again the Government has shown itself slow to understand issues which have a powerful effect on women's lives," she said.
"They need to now provide strong reassurance to women that they will not play politics again with women's rights to expert health care and advice."
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