UK Journalist Finds NHS Counseling Promotes Abortion

International   |   Adam Cassandra   |   Aug 31, 2011   |   6:25PM   |   London, England

Just days after a report that the UK Department of Health plans to create a new system of “independent” pre-abortion counseling, an undercover investigation of the counseling afforded by abortion providers and crisis pregnancy centers reveals the powerful impact of pre-abortion counseling.

“As for me, the advice I received couldn’t have been more disparate. But one thing’s certain – sitting face-to-face with a counselor is incredibly influential,” said Daily Mail reporter Jenny Stocks.

In an exercise designed to test the bias of counseling from abortion providers and generally pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, Stocks posed as a “terrified pregnant young woman unsure of what to do,” and went to five different counseling sessions for advice.

A vote in the UK due to take place next week on amendments to a public health bill would prevent government funded abortion providers – such as Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) – from offering pre-abortion counseling.

“We are currently developing proposals to introduce independent counseling for women seeking abortion,” according to a spokesman for the Department of Health. “These proposals are focused on improving women’s health and wellbeing. Final decisions on who should provide this counseling have not yet been made.”

Stocks said of her undercover experience, “I discovered that vulnerable women are being given advice that is both biased and manipulative – and could easily make them feel pressured into making a decision they will regret later.”

After her counseling session with Marie Stopes, one of the largest abortion providers in the world, Stocks said she, “left not knowing the medical or emotional side-effects of abortion.”

“Keeping the baby was not seen as an option at all,” said Stocks. “I thanked my lucky stars that I wasn’t scared and pregnant for real.”

Stocks said her BPAS counselor, Jane, “spent most of the session reassuring me that having an abortion was not ‘selfish,'” and urged her not to feel guilty.

“Jane’s session was slightly more detailed than Marie Stopes,” said Stocks, “but I felt she was still incredibly pro-abortion. This concerned me, because BPAS is where the majority of women referred by the NHS are sent.”

After visiting the three crisis pregnancy centers, Stocks said that only one, Choices Islington, “provided detailed, accurate information about where I could go for an abortion and what it involved,” in addition to talking through keeping the baby.

“So was my experience typical of young women who have really been pregnant and uncertain? From those I have spoken to, it seems sadly it is,” Stocks said in her report.

But while the Department of Health’s proposal to set up independent counseling sounds like a win for pro-lifers, one of the UK’s largest pro-life organizations urges caution.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) general secretary Paul Tully responded to the proposal this week saying, “Handing the drafting of proposals relating to abortion to the Department of Health is like putting the fox in charge of the chicken-coop.”

“The Department of Health commissions the vast majority of abortions in Britain, and says doctors should provide abortion on demand,” said Tully. “Successive governments have regarded abortion as an answer to unmarried teenagers and other vulnerable women who get pregnant.”

“Pro-life counseling can save many lives but independent counseling is not the same thing,” according to Tully.

All too often the truth of abortion is never made clear to those women who seek counseling: that abortion is the murder of an innocent human life. In Stocks’ account of her five counseling sessions, she never mentions that the words “murder,” “death” or “human life” ever came up in conversation.

As Stocks points out, abortion providers are running profit-making businesses, and have a monetary incentive to keep performing abortions. This is why many in the pro-abortion crowd wrap abortion in the language of “choice” and “women’s rights” in an effort to cloud the reality of abortion. Telling the truth to women prior to an abortion (that the abortion is going to kill their unborn child) doesn’t provide great motivation for going through with the procedure. Any pre-abortion counseling a woman receives must be clear on this fact to be considered legitimate. Note:  Reprinted with permission from Human Life International’s World Watch forum. Adam Cassandra is a Communications Specialist at Human Life International.