British Amendment Would Put Pregnancy Center Official in Jail for Abortion Advice

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 27, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Amendment Would Put Pregnancy Center Official in Jail for Abortion Advice

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 27
, 2008

London, England ( — Members of the British Parliament will soon debate the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill that promotes abortion and unethical scientific practices like human cloning. During the debate, they will consider amendments such as one targeting pregnancy centers with jail time for helping women.

In an analysis provided to by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, a leading pro-life group in the UK, the amendment appears to go after anyone who talks a woman out of an abortion.

That would mean that staff at pregnancy centers could face up to two years in prison for counseling a woman against an abortion if the British government determines the counseling was supposedly misleading or inaccurate.

"On the face of it, it says, if you advertise a service (such as “advice”) for pregnant women, and the advert suggests that you provide abortions or information about abortion when this is not true, or if the advert is ‘in any way likely to deceive’ in this regard, then the offence has been committed," SPUC says.

Another part of the amendment "requires that the information might affect a woman’s decision about abortion might seem to narrow down the circumstances when an offence can be committed, but a given woman might say anything influenced her decision."

While pregnancy centers don’t deceive women by saying they do abortions, they do talk about abortion’s risks and aftereffects, such as physical problems like breast cancer and mental health issues, that the pro-abortion British government may consider inaccurate.

SPUC worries the amendment "is worded in such a way as to rely upon a subjective measure of deception or likely deception, even when the information is factually correct."

The group is also concerned that the amendment will target pro-life doctors, nurses and other medical personnel who are pro-life and help women find better alternatives.

John Smeaton, director of the group, writes on his blog that abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood should be the focus of an amendment because of its denials about the humanity of the unborn child and abortion’s risks.

"It is ironic to see pro-life organizations being accused of inaccuracy by an organization which claims on its web site that the unborn child does not become a baby until birth," he writes.

John Bercow, a Tory MP, is the author of the amendment that mirrors efforts in the United States to target pregnancy centers.

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