Today MP’s are voting on whether to change the arrangements for counselling for a woman seeking an abortion. The proposal would guarantee that a woman who is considering having an abortion has access to non-compulsory counselling and advice from someone who has no financial interest in the outcome of her decision.
At present any advice is provided by the same agencies and organisations that are paid for carrying out the abortion operation and whilst I am prepared to accept the assurance of such bodies that they provide impartial advice there is nevertheless the danger that there is a conflict of interest.
For any woman, abortion is a significant decision and it seems sensible to me that the advice should be as independent and impartial as possible clearly setting out the alternatives available and the consequences of each choice.
As ever when abortion is on the agenda there are very strong feelings on both sides of the debate and I have considered the matter at great length. It will be a free vote and I intend to vote in favour of the proposed changes.