Friday, 2 March 2012

Bpas’ interpretation of Abortion Act merits urgent parliamentary scrutiny

The ‘Voice for Choice’ Coalition, an assemblage of pro-abortion groups and activists, has today issued a quite extraordinary statement which can be accessed on the ‘Open Democracy’ website.

Titled ‘The Daily Telegraph is mistaken: We support doctors who provide abortion services’, it has been prompted by the Daily Telegraph’s recent investigation into sex selection abortions.

It comes shortly after a highly controversial article by two bioethicists arguing that there is no difference between abortion and ‘after birth abortion’ or infanticide.

Caroline Farrow of Catholic Voices has already published an effective and comprehensive line by line fisk but I wanted to pick on one point that deserves further investigation.

Two of the authors of the statement, Ann Furedi (pictured) and Patricia Lohr, are respectively Chief Executive and Medical Director of Bpas (British Pregnancy Advice Service), Britain’s largest abortion provider.

It is this that makes the article particularly striking because they reveal an extremely liberal interpretation of the current abortion law which I think merits the attention of parliament.

As I have noted previously, 98% of abortions in Britain are carried out on the legal grounds ‘that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman’.

And yet a major review of the literature by the Royal College of Psychiatrists last year revealed that there is no evidence that the continuance of a pregnancy ever involves risk to the mental health of the mother that is ‘greater than if the pregnancy were terminated’.

This raises an interesting question. Are those doctors who authorise abortions on these mental health grounds aware of these facts or not? In other words, when they sign these forms, are they just ignorant of the facts or are they being deliberately disingenuous?

We learn the truth in today’s statement.

‘Today, most doctors and most people recognise that women themselves do know what is best for their own lives and do take responsible decisions. Hence, most doctors are willing to provide an abortion referral for a woman if she requests it because they understand that continuing an unwanted pregnancy is not good for women or their children, and will almost always cause a woman greater distress than having an abortion.’

So the Chief Executive and Medical Director of Bpas, the country’s largest abortion provider , equate ‘risk to the mental health of the mother’ with ‘causing the woman distress’.

No wonder they are willing to provide abortion for virtually everyone who requests it!

When abortion was legalised in 1967 by the Abortion Act it provided doctors with protection from conviction under the Offences Against the Person Act for abortions carried out under a strictly limited set of conditions. This was in recognition of the fact that abortion ended the life of a human being.

But now, after over seven million abortions, it is clear that the mental health clause in the Act is being used as a catch-all to provide abortions virtually on demand, for every woman who claims to be distressed abut the fact that she has an unwanted pregnancy. And yet ‘distress’ by any stretch of the imagination does not constitute mental illness.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said last week that to carry out abortions on women who were distressed their babies were the ‘wrong sex’ was both ‘morally repugnant’ and ‘illegal’.

Perhaps it is time that someone asked him about Bpas carrying out the legal status of abortions carried out on women ‘distressed’ about having an unwanted pregnancy for any other reason . Especially given that they receive many millions of pounds of public money each year for doing it.

Britain’s largest abortion provider’s interpretation of the Abortion Act merits urgent parliamentary scrutiny.


  1. Why would a company that makes rather large sums of cash not want to be as liberal with the wording as possible. Afterall, the more they do the more they get paid.

  2. Why is it that authors like you claim that the Pro-Choice group are pro abortion. Is it that you want to try and parade us as being baby killers? Of course it is, that's how you roll.

    The ‘Voice for Choice’ Coalition, an assemblage of pro-abortion groups...

    Being as you cannot understand the difference between Pro-Choice and Pro-Abortion I wonder if you actually have any medical knowledge at all.

    As you claim to be the CEO of the Christian Medical Fellowship, can you tell us what medical qualifications, if any, you have?

  3. "not pro-abortion but pro-choice"..???

    Newsengland. Clearly those who claim to be "not pro-abortion but pro-choice" stand along with slave traders, sex trafficers and the rest... they do not force anyone else to use services which deny others their rights...they merely assert their "choice" to do so. Women are often bullied into abortion by partners, parents...even so called responsible educators. Abortion staff have a financial incentive that she will not have life-affirming choices. Unborn children are being denied their choices and killed in excrutiating pain - particularly girls it seems. Why no outcry from those who mis-term themselves "feminist"???

    1. Your complete lack of understanding doesn't surprise me, even though it saddens me.

      You come up with extreme arguments against abortion so I will provide extreme arguments for it. What about the young woman who gets raped on her way home from work one cold evening? What about the young girl who is raped by her father? What about the young woman who, on a night out, gets her drink drugged by a predator and unknowingly has sex with him?

      We can all come up with stupid and irrelevant arguments, the crux of the mater though is not what you or I (or even your make believe God) wants to do, it is what the woman whose body it is wants to do.

      Anyone offering to perform an abortion must also offer counselling, this is to attempt to help the person be sure of the choice they are making, a choice which may follow them throughout their lives if they have been unlucky enough to have been born into a catholic family rather than a family which teaches its children scientifically.

      There will always be times when women chose not to carry the foetus to full term and thus manufacture a baby, we should respect these women's views and therefore provide easily accessible abortions.

      If we refuse to allow women to have abortions it will not prevent abortions from taking place, it would just mean a return to the pre 1967 state of affairs where backstreet abortions took place.

      Maybe you should read up some facts about this to see where we were before we legalised abortions?
      Please have a look at this paper and in particular the part about How pre-1967 arguments against abortion were rooted either in a perception of the risk it posed to the women concerned, or to attitudes which associated it with sexual immorality

      One would hope that, 40+ years on, we are slightly more enlightened and would allow the pro choice argument to have won out. It is obviously the right of any person to chose their own path and that of their own body's. If you think some supernatural power that you subscribe to is against it, that is fine. But realise that the thinking people in the UK see your supernatural beliefs as being akin to those who believe in ghosts, goblins, witches and wizards.

    2. This reply fails to address the moral questions surrounding abortion:
      1)Is abortion an acceptable choice? There's no point going on and on about woman having a choice, that's not the point, the point is, is it an ACCEPTABLE choice. I could choose to go into a petrol station and do a hold up or I could choose to rob tescos or run over some poor old granny, merely having the ability to choose to do any of these things however does not make them right. If I were to stand up in court and go 'Its not fair, your violating my right to choose' the judge would most likely (and quite rightly) pour scorn on my ridiculous arguments and send me to jail. There are some choices that are immoral and will always be immoral, these sorts of choices are generally punished by society. Nor for that matter would the majority of people deciding that robbery or murder was acceptable make it acceptable, so its no point bringing out the old 'but most people think its right' argument.
      2)Do two wrongs make a right? Yet again the old 'what if they were raped..' argument has been brought out. For the avoidance of doubt, two wrongs DO NOT make a right. Any woman who has been violated in such a horrific fashion deserves our support, our help and our prayers. However she does not have the right to go and violate someone else's even more fundamental right, namely the absolute right of an innocent person to life. I fail to see how someone whose rights have been violated helps either themselves or others by then violating an even more fundamental right of another person.
      3)Does the fact that something will happen anyway mean we should legalise it? By this logic the fact that murder, robbery and rape has happened since the dawn of time means we should legalise it. It would after all be much safer that way, while we're at all drugs should be legalised etc... We make something illegal because it is wrong not merely to stop it from happening.

      As for your absurd comments about 'being unlucky to be born into a catholic family', as usual your bring up the nonsensical and false dichotomy of faith vs science. Just so you know the renaissance was largely bankrolled by the Catholic Church and by Catholics, many of the worlds most important discoveries were made by faithful Catholics i.e the foundation of the science of genetics by Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel, the foundation of the big bang theory was laid down by Georges Lemaître a Catholic priest, one of the greatest philopshers of all time St Thomas Aquinas has been praised by neuroscientists, the list goes on.

      In general your comments are entirely unscientific, biased and seem to be a general diatribe against Catholics and anyone unfortunate enough to disagree with you.

  4. Ann Furedi is a strident harpy with a clear conflict of interest. The more abortions women have, the more secure her own position and the more the funding. Newsengland, you are a disgrace, and your blog is full of nonsensical bullshit. No doubt you would like to convince yourself that you are doing no wrong, but yes, you are a baby-killer. Only an idiot would compare a baby to cancer. Do you have any babies yourself mate, or have you killed them all? And btw, it is spelled FETUS, not foetus. Even I know that.

    As for Peter, far be it from me to defend him, but if he is not medically qualified, do you really think he would have the brass neck to say that he is? Do you think the CMF would let him pretend to be medical if he were not? You are an idiot. You are not only non-medical (as am I) but you lack basic commonsense as well. Anyway, whether or not he is medical, he clearly knows more about the subject than you and I.

    I sincerely hope people like you never get to reproduce and pass on their genes.

    Good article, Peter. You should stick to debating abortion and euthanasia. The Old Testament is not your forte, certainly :) And unlike the OT, no gymnastics are needed here. I guess you'd consider me one of those "co-belligerents" who are on the same side as you (for a change), eh? Where is young Jonathan? Does he not have an opinion on abortion?

    1. James. You are clearly an idiot, the fact that you didn't even check that there are two well recognised spellings of the word foetus confirms this fact.

      Additionally, I currently have 7 grandchildren, so your hopes of me not being able to reproduce are not only a little late but also nasty thing to say, how very Christian of you!

      And you lot wonder why the Atheist community is growing, its pretty simple, Christians don't act in a Christian manner.

      Atheism ftw.

    2. Because its easier to reject God than accept him, means we can do whatever we want, I can't see you convincing anyone to be an atheist though, you're too arrogant and rude.

  5. So women don't know what's best for their own lives then? Makes sense, they were a bit of an afterthought. Turns out they need men to tell them what's best for their own lives after all. No surprises there.

  6. It is not your "own" life, it is the life of another human being.
    It is not for you to "choose" whether it should be destroyed or allowed to live.

    1. James. A foetus is not a baby. It is no more than a cluster of cells. The fact you cannot grasp this suggests you shouldn't be allowed to even discuss this matter with others.

      Forcing women to do things with their bodies that they don't want to do is slavery. That is why we say we are pro-choice.

      If we were pro-abortion we would be standing outside hospitals waving placards at pregnant women entering the building and telling them they were bad people for choosing to have a baby. (pretty much what anti abortionists like to do at places where abortions happen)

      However, we aren't like that, we believe women have a choice in what to do with their own bodies and that it is no one else's choice but theirs. If they think that they would be better off not having a parasite growing inside them (parasite is the correct definition for something which lives off of another without being able to fend for itself) then that is their choice. Choice, that is all it comes down to. Their bodies, their choice.

    2. Just so you know being arrogant won't ever convince anyone to agree with you, the fact that you can't display a shred of humulity suggest you should slowly back away from the computer and drink some tea.

      The very fact you consider a human baby a parasite shows just how far your mind has gone, I guess your glad your mum didn't rid of the parasite that was 'you' then eh? Really by your definition we should call all children parasites, they can't fend for themselves, do you support child murder then? No? I didn't think so.

      Trying to class babies as parasites or if you want to use your terminology a 'foetus' is beyond absurd, the foetus is NOT there due to its own choice and 99 times out of 100 it is due to the choice of the mother to have sexual intercourse. In those cases where it is not, it is regardless NOT there by choice, so it cannot even remotely be compared with a parasite. The very fact that you could consider human reproduction parasitic demonstrates the levels of absurdity to which your mind has sunk, a parasite sucks the life out of its host organism, the offspring of a creature on the other hand relies on the mother for life and then passes on life. In other words it allows the genetic line of the parents to continue, in humans children will generally look after their parents, help them, give them great joy and so on. This is anything but parasitic.

      I will pray for you as you are obviously a very lost soul.

  7. That is a different argument. The article was arguing that women don't know what's best for their own mental health. Makes sense, since they don't really have the brain power to assess these things.

  8. >> The article was arguing that women don't know what's best for their own mental health.

    No, it does not say anything of the sort. The article is arguing that "distress" is not the same as "risk to mental health". These are medical criteria and neither you or I are doctors. Only a doctor can assess such a risk.

    >> Makes sense

    That is correct.

    >> since they don't really have the brain power to assess these things.

    No, because they don't have the medical knowledge or expertise required to assess these things. My wife has been depressed on and off - neither she or I had the medical knowledge to assess whether she was "mentally ill" or merely unhappy with certain life events. So we saw our doctor. That is what doctors are for - to decide such things on our behalf because we lack that knowledge. It has nothing to do with being a man or a woman. Get a grip. This is why doctors are involved in the abortion process at all - so they can make an expert medical assessment. I have no idea what kind of doctor Peter is - perhaps he's a GP. But at any rate, I assume he knows more about the subject than either you or me or anyone else who does not have a medical qualification.

    1. Well, since you seem to put all your trust in doctors since we mere mortals can't assess what is happening in our own brains (I'm a neuroscientist by the way, and I don't need a doctor to tell me when I am mentally ill), then if a doctor thinks an abortion is in your best interests, then it must be. They know best.

    2. I didn't say I put all my trust in doctors. I said only a doctor can tell the difference between "distress" (not medical, and very common) and "depression" (which is a medical condition). Doctors do not have the right to decide whether an abortion is in a person's "best interests". They have to decide whether that person fulfils the criteria for an abortion, under the Abortion act.
      Are you too stupid to see the difference? According to Peter's article, doctors are lying when they sign the forms. You're a neuroscientist? Funny, you don't seem able to reason very well. Nobody needs a doctor to tell them when they are mentally ill - but they do need a doctor to establish whether they are medically depressed or merely distressed. When my wife saw our GP, he gave her a number of tests before putting her on medication.

    3. James, you struggled with the spelling of foetus, I don't think you should call in to question other peoples intelligence.

    4. If doctors are so prone to lying, I suggest you stop trusting them with your wife's health.

  9. Gees, you're a bit rude for a Christian.

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