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New plans for abortion counselling

Abortion providers have criticised plans which could see them lose the ability to counsel women considering a termination.

The government is looking into proposals which would see women who go to charities such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes for counselling referred to an independent organisation - such as a statutory body - that does not itself provide abortions.

The measures are considered unnecessary by the charities, which argue that there is no evidence to show that the current system, which requires that all women have a consultation, is not working.

They also warned that the changes being considered by the Department of Health would mean a delay in women getting the counselling they need.

The row came after Tory MP, Nadine Dorries and former Labour minister, Frank Field, called for amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill that would strip them of this consultation function, and it appears their proposals could go through without the need for new legislation.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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"This is a very good idea. It was never a good idea for the organisation carrying out the abortion to do the counselling" - Mary Connolly, Birmingham