Britain’s leading provider of abortion services has said that requiring a father’s consent before an abortion is carried out is “not desirable”, and that abortion should be “fully tax-payer funded”.
In the run-up to the general election next week the British Pregnancy Advisory Service has been lobbying Parliamentary candidates to sign up to its “My Pledge, Her Choice” campaign, calling on candidates to protect clinic access and funding for British women, oppose “parliamentary attacks” on abortion rights and support further moves to decriminalise abortion.
But in response to a UKIP candidate’s offer to support the pledge as long as it didn’t call on taxpayer funds, and includes a requirement for the consent of the father except in cases of rape, a spokesman for the BPAS said it therefore couldn’t accept his pledge.
“We believe it [abortion] should be fully tax-payer funded (as women pay tax and this is a medical procedure) and we do not believe requiring a partner’s consent is either practical or desirable”, the spokesman said.
The full correspondence was posted to Facebook by the UKIP candidate for Leeds Central, Bill Palfreman.
It further reveals that BPAS are attempting to persuade candidates to support its pledge by issuing potentially misleading information. The lobbying letter states “the most recent social attitudes polling on this issue found that the majority of voters, across all political parties, support a more progressive abortion framework than we currently have in this country.”
The letter does not give a source for this claim, but it flies in the face of a recent ComRes poll of 2,008 British adults conducted on behalf of Where Do They Stand?, a grassroots initiative to give the public information on where parliamentary candidates stand on a range of issues.
That poll, taken in May 2017, found that 70 per cent of women would like the current time limit of 24 weeks lowered, and 59 per cent of women would like the time limit lowered to 16 weeks or less.
Additionally, it found that 79 per cent of Brits want to introduce a five-day consideration period before an abortion can be carried out, and 76 per cent want to introduce a requirement that doctors verify the women was not coerced before the procedure take place.
According to BPAS’s website, just 10-15 per cent of the 80,000 women who approach the organisation for counselling at one of their 70 clinics nationwide decide to continue with their pregnancy. 96 per cent of women who opt to go ahead with an abortion through BPAS have their treatment paid for by the NHS, although it is an independent organisation.
Mr Palfreman told Breitbart London that he was not in favour of banning abortion, but that he would like to see an equal role for fathers in granting consent.
“I was startled by BPAS’s outright rejection of the biologically equal role of the father in creating a child. If the relationship was consensual I could never countenance dismissing the need for paternal consent for abortion,” he said.
He added that he thought it “incredible” that the organisation had charitable status, musing: “A charity where healthy babies arrive within the safety of their mother’s womb and leave in bags.”
He said he had also been “surprised” to discover that BPAS offered abortion services, and that he believed their name to be misleading.
“I am surprised that an organisation that called itself the Pregnancy Advisory Service would be an abortion provider. Their name gives no indication of that.
“It must have misled huge numbers of mothers who thought they were getting pregnancy advice and really were speaking to abortionists. They are hardly going to be encouraging often rather vulnerable young mothers to allow their child to live.
“It’s not about pregnancy it’s about abortion. It’s not advisory it’s surgical. It’s not a service it’s an industry.”