Oldham MPs oppose abortion-advice axe

Date published: 08 September 2011

A CONTROVERSIAL bid to strip abortion providers of their role in advising pregnant women was decisively defeated yesterday with the help of Oldham MPs.

A backbench attempt by Tory MP Nadine Dorries to require local councils to direct women to “independent” advisers — who do not receive a fee for arranging terminations — was thrown out by 368 votes to 118 .

Oldham West and Royton MP Michael Meacher, Oldham East and Saddleworth’s Debbie Abrahams and Ashton’s David Heyes all voted no.

The amendment would have prevented counselling by the likes of Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), which have “any financial interest in providing for the termination of pregnancies.”

But there were fears that so-called “independent” organisations would include religious groups, who would attempt to influence women not to have an abortion.