Since I blogged on the Guardian article last night the BBC, Independent, Telegraph and Press Association have reported that Prime Minister David Cameron (and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley) will be voting against the Dorries/Field amendment to give women the right to an offer of pre-abortion counselling independent of abortion providers.
This is an astounding about-face from last weekend when the Department of Health signalled its support for the Dorries/Field plan.
It appears that the following sequence of events occurred to make Cameron withdraw his support.
1. Former MP Evan Harris (pictured) put pressure on Deputy PM Nick Clegg
2. Clegg put pressure on Cameron
3. Cameron withdrew his support from Dorries/Field
Yesterday Harris tweeted ‘I raised the DoH plans with Nick Clegg directly yesterday. Today Govt climbed down’ and later added ‘The "climbdown" of Govt was more down to Clegg than Cameron’.
A Downing Street source has explained Cameron’s (current) position as follows:
‘The Prime Minister does have sympathy with Nadine (Dorries). He does believe that pregnant women should be able to get more advice and counselling, we agree on that. But where we differ is that we don't believe that Marie Stopes and BPAS should be excluded from offering that advice and counselling.’
Now that is most interesting. The Dorries/Field amendment did nothing to ‘exclude’ BPAS/MSI from counseling. That is simply the spin of the pro-abortion industry in order to maintain their near exclusive market share. We already know that BPAS/MSI operate a near monopoly on abortion provision and ‘counseling’ and receive over £60 million a year of taxpayers’ money for doing it.
There is nothing in the Dorries/Field amendment that changes this arrangement. All it requires is that there also be an offer of counseling independent of the abortion industry.
Cameron and Lansley now want to deny women that opportunity for fear of upsetting the powerful abortion industry along with its political supporters.
This news has broken on the very day that a major review has reported that women who have abortions have an 81% higher level of mental health problems than those who don’t, 55% higher than those who carry unplanned pregnancies to term and that abortion accounts for 10% of all mental health problems amongst women of child-bearing age.
The cost of the NHS of abortion-related mental health problems would be a very interesting study!
But you can bet your life that neither the RCOG nor BPAS/MSI will be telling any women about it. In fact although the story has been run by CBS, ITN, Telegraph, Daily Mail and Press Association neither the BBC nor any of the pro-abortion press (Independent/Guardian/Mirror etc) have so far even mentioned it.
What is most interesting is that 92% of MPs have already said in a recent Com Res poll that they support the option of counselling for women by independent counsellors, who have no financial interest in the outcome of the woman’s decision.
So it will be most interesting to see how MPs vote next week. How many will now fall into line behind Cameron, Clegg and Harris? We will have to wait and see.
I have highlighted before Cameron’s similar fear of another powerful lobby and his willingness to sacrifice other MPs on the altar of political expedience. There seems to be a recurring pattern here.
It now appears that he is almost as frightened of the pro-abortion lobby as Tony Blair was. Cristina Odone thinks it is because he is terrified of being seen as ‘a moralizing right-winger’. The Telegraph has expressed disappointment in a leading article. But the danger is that Cameron will appear more and more like a straw in the wind.
Evan Harris may have lost his parliamentary seat in West Oxford and Abingdon for his extreme views but it seems that he still has considerable influence over the government.
Although I concur with very few of Evan Harris’s views it has to be said that he seems to have more courage, backbone, determination and political influence in this matter than the Prime Minister.