Another one from the archives:
This is the letter that I am sending to my MP, Caroline Lucas, about Nadine Dorries’ and Frank Field’s disgusting proposals for abortion counselling reform. Please feel free to use the text as a model letter to your own MP if you wish to do so.
It is with anger and genuine fear that I read today of the Department of Health decision to push independent bodies, often with pro-life agendas, into the abortion counselling process. It is already remiss that there is not a complete state-funded counselling service for those considering terminating their pregnancies. Organisations like Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service should be recognised as doing stellar work in providing objective and non-judgemental counselling for women undergoing what is often one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives.
The decision, falling just short of legislative procedure for the time being, comes from Conservative back-bencher Nadine Dorries and Labour MP for Birkenhead Frank Field, and it is ideological. It may be aimed at reducing the rate of abortions in the UK and I have little doubt that this astronomically high statistic, with 200,000 terminations taking place in the UK annually, needs addressing; but the introduction of private companies with their own political agendas into the decision making process risks damaging women’s physical and mental health, and quite possibly their entire lives, in the process.
In taking the decision to terminate a pregnancy women are already determining to give away the pound of flesh closest to their hearts. It must be their decision to do so; this decision must be made with access to strongly regulated, impartial advice and consultation from healthcare professionals. In an ideal world abortion counselling should be brought under state control as part of the NHS, available free to everyone who needs it.
Under the present government this will not happen, but Andrew Lansley and the Department of Health are pushing us towards a world in which private companies have a say in our reproductive freedoms and that is a dystopia in which I had never imagined living.
I know that my voice is not alone in our constituency in opposing this new and radical reform to our abortion rights and I hope that you will recognise our voices and speak out and publicly campaign against these changes over coming weeks.