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Debate: Has the Dorries amendment helped the pro-life cause?

Or has it distracted attention from what’s important?

By on Thursday, 8 September 2011

Photo: CNS

Photo: CNS

The proposal by Nadine Dorries to make abortion counselling independent – ie, not offered by abortion providers – was defeated in the Commons this week by 368 votes to 118. Some say it was a disaster: it showed the pro-life movement at its most divided. The two MPs who proposed the amendment, Dorries and Frank Field, could not even agree in the debate. Others say the proposal itself was deeply flawed; it was not supported by either Life or Spuc.

Despite all this, Dorries has hailed it as a victory. She told the BBC: “We have lost the battle but won the war.” She had put the issue of abortion on the political agenda for the first time in years. And, more importantly, her efforts pushed Anne Milton, the health minister, into promising a consultation and then a debate on abortion counselling. Many pro-lifers are hopeful that this consultation may yet yield positive change.

So, has Dorries’s amendment helped the pro-life cause? Or has it distracted attention from a broader aim: to convince secular society of the humanity of the unborn?

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.s.ozimic Anthony Spuc Ozimic

    Re “her efforts pushed Anne Milton, the health minister, into promising a
    consultation and then a debate on abortion counselling. Many pro-lifers
    are hopeful that this consultation may yet yield positive change”: in fact, this bears out the fears expressed before the debate by SPUC that
    Department of Health officials will be given the opportunity to draft
    regulations. The Department’s officials have a long track-record of
    promoting a radical pro-abortion interpretation of the law. We fear that
    they may now try to ban pro-life agencies offering pregnancy
    counselling that can help women avoid unwanted abortions. As a
    priority we must urge Parliamentarians to put pressure on the Minister
    to ensure that pro-life doctors, nurses and counsellors remain free to
    act according to their consciences. The abuse of women by
    abortion-providers must also be dealt with, but the approach must be a
    politically astute and morally sound.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.s.ozimic Anthony Spuc Ozimic

    Re “her efforts pushed Anne Milton, the health minister, into promising a
    consultation and then a debate on abortion counselling. Many pro-lifers
    are hopeful that this consultation may yet yield positive change”: in fact, this bears out the fears expressed before the debate by SPUC that
    Department of Health officials will be given the opportunity to draft
    regulations. The Department’s officials have a long track-record of
    promoting a radical pro-abortion interpretation of the law. We fear that
    they may now try to ban pro-life agencies offering pregnancy
    counselling that can help women avoid unwanted abortions. As a
    priority we must urge Parliamentarians to put pressure on the Minister
    to ensure that pro-life doctors, nurses and counsellors remain free to
    act according to their consciences. The abuse of women by
    abortion-providers must also be dealt with, but the approach must be a
    politically astute and morally sound.

  • ms catholic state

    Sometimes you got to propose something…..not just oppose something.  And that’s what Nadine Dorries did.  It went wrong……and hopefully won’t go further wrong.  But she brought the issue to the forefront…..and thank God for that.  Pro-aborts have been getting away with murder for decades now…..and this was the first in what hopefully will be many more shots across the bow of the complacent complicit pernicious pro-abortion culture of Parliment and country.

    Furthermore….have we now got 118 names of possible friends of the unborn.  Many might be new young MPs from all parties….that might - just might signal a turning of the tide against the hey day of abortion in this country.

  • Anonymous

    An unmitigated disaster!

    The highly efficient,capable and professionally run pro-abortion camp has been campaigning for years for the banning of all pro-Life agencies; the day that happens is now imminent.

    Any revision of regulations will automatically be exploited to favour the abortion industry – and possibly ensure a relaxation of any residual restrictions to abortion on demand – possibly the 2 doctor rule for abortions under 12 weeks?

    This fiasco has created an opportunity to enforce draconian restrictions on pro-Life agencies which could ultimately make their purpose – even their existence – untenable or even impossible.

    Once this opportunity has been seized it will lead to a full-scale assault on conscience rights for medical practitioners. Dr Evan Harris has already called for any doctor or nurse who opposes abortion to wear a badge stating such and hang posters in their workplace [he hasn't stated what form the badges would take - but yellow stars and pink triangles come to mind]

    Eugenic abortion presently requires informed consent – many abortion activists are campaigning for this to be altered to an opt-out provision with an investigation by a hospital ethics committee to adjudicate if the parents are capable of caring for a physically or mentally handicapped child.

    Lloyds pharmacy’s code of conduct outlaws conscience provisions; it’s certain most if not all pharmacies will follow suit.

    Social services have previously stated their ad litem duty of care complied with the wishes of any underage pregnant girl – they may instead impose mandatory abortions for all those under the age of consent in care [they have the legal right to do so] ; as may be the case for all those declared mentally subnormal or those incapacitated by drugs or ‘socio-economic distress’.[i.e. homeless].

    Meanwhile the rift between spuc and everyone else has been revealed to all ; as is the ineptitude of Life itself [declining a right of reply to the false accusations made about it in the media]

    ..and where is the Church hierarchy?

    Do I really need to mention Conference colaboration with the culture of death via Connexions, the Liverpool care pathway, its support for the mental capacity act, the continuance of murder at the St John & Lizzie?

    Meanwhile dutiful Catholics still send their money off to spuc; young Catholics pray the  40 days for Life and participate in pro-Life demonstrations, giving Church talks on NFP and Theology of the Body and wringing their hands on the state of the nation…

    Meanwhile the ‘professional’ pro-Life activists are proven to be a busted flush who haven’t gained a single victory on any issue in 44 years!!!
    …sure everyone knows that John Smeaton can start a fight in an empty room and has antagonised numberless Catholics and potentially sympathetic politicians ;

    Most people should know by now that Right to Life is simply Phyllis Bowman [a one-woman army trying to win every inch she can and risking everything for that inch]

    The counter-productive amateur clique ‘Ladies who Lunch’ with their clerical hangers-on [think the Quintavalle ilk] are people who like to do a lot of hand-wringing and arguing on podiums and go to an awful lot of like-minded events – but bugger all else!

    And now that Bishops’ Conference is about as pro-Life as Pol Pot?

    Rather than holding demonstrations and reciting the rosary outside abortion clinics – maybe they should do it outside Eccleston square – or even better outside Ambrosden Avenue!

    Michael Voris declared ‘First: Change yourself!”

    We as Catholics can do virtually nothing for the Pro-Life cause while our hierarchy is complicit with the culture of death AND refuses to ever speak out on such issues , is highly reticent to promote any pro-Life initiative and ultimately by their silence, acedia, cowardice and ineptitude betray us before we even start…

  • Anne

    Anthony, please tell us what SPUC is doing to deliver a change on abortion.  The numbers are going up every year?  You don’t agree with this recent campaign, please tell us what future SPCU initiatives we should looke out for?

  • Anonymous

    Anne – If  you wish to hold your breath I’d suggest you inflate a balloon.
    Don’t hold your breath otherwise.

  • Anne

    Could the Herald consider adding an article, what should be the next campaign on abortion? Discuss

  • Anonymous

    Simple: Convert the Bishops’ Conference to the Pro-Life cause….

  • David Devinish

    Anne Milton was not forced to do anything by Nadine Dorries, in fact it was Anne Milton’s intervention with the assistance of Frank Field who prevented Nadine Dorries from looking even a greater fool than she already has done. I am profoundly pro-life and anti abortion, but the way to tackle this issue is not to be sanctimonious or get ‘people’s backs up’ in the way that Nadine Dorries did. The Whips office suggested that she withdrew the bill as it was already doomed to fail, but she refused. The Speaker offered her the opportunity to withdraw the bill, and again she refused. She would have lost by more than 300 votes had it not been for the generosity of some MP’s who wanted to save her face. I hope in the future that some intelligent MP with integrity and an understanding and respect for Parliament will raise this matter in the future. I would like if Lousie Bagshawe (Louise Mensch) MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire raised the matter. I feel that she or some other MP of probity would succeed in changing the law on abortion by using reason and logic, but not by self seeking theatricality and histrionics.

  • Oconnordamien

    If I may use a quote from an author from another site:

    “On Wednesday Dorries filibustered for an hour, out of what was meant to be an hour and a half debate on the proposals, at the end of which she called a vote on one of five amendments that had been tabled without any clarity about which amendment she had been talking about during her own speech. She called a vote.The vote was lost but the whole fiasco shows the fractured nature of the pro-life lobby, and the unreliability of Nadine Dorries and the lack of trust people have in her and how she and her co-conspirers operate.Despite the pressure from the pro-choice lobby, at the end of the day it was Dorries’ inaccuracies and lack of communication with supportive colleagues that lost the vote by a majority of 250.”This comment was not found in the Guardian but on pro-life, Christian site.

  • Anonymous

    I’m no fan of ND but I am in no way sorry to inform you that your quote is nothing but a mendacious misrepresentation and fabrication of actual events in the Commons. Transcripts are widely available online.

  • Anonymous

    Louise Mensch didn’t even vote on the issue after her amendment [ er opportunistic photo opportunity] was rejected and she was otherwise engaged/pre-occupied at a photo shoot…

    Mr Devinish you obviously didn’t read Ms Mensch’s proposals – she made it embarrassingly clear on twitter that she didn’t understand the issue at all and was in reality  [ and not for the first time] bandwagon-jumping.

    …she’s my MP !

  • Oconnordamien

    I’ll consider my wrist slapped, or myself pwned, whatever that means. I did not make it clear that I don’t think she helped the pro-life because the quote I used was taken from a pro-life christian publication.

    I will readily admit I’d far rather go swimming with a great white shark while wearing a seal suit than listen to Nadine Dorries for an hour. 

  • David Devinish

    If Louise Mensch is your MP, then I give deference to your knowledge. Yes you are right, I did not read what Louise Mensch wrote on twitter. I know that Louise didn’t vote, and that was because the whole abortion amendment was a farce. That is right, Louise didn’t understand the issue, because very few people understood the antics of Nadine Dorries. I watched and re-watched the debate, and Nadine Dorries was a disgrace to Parliament. I am profoundly pro-life and anti-abortion and I am astounded that some Catholic bloggers still support the tacky escapades of Nadine Dorries that were mainly for her own self aggrandisement. A great opportunity was wasted for a sensible debate and it may be several years before there is another debate. I do not place Louise Mensch in the same self-seeking category as Nadine Dorries. She seems to be highly intelligent and highly successful as a writer, but that is all I know about her.

  • D B McGinnity

    Louise Mensch voted ‘NO’ in the Abortion Amendment Bill on Wednesday. I do not know what bandwagon jumping means, so please elucidate. I think it is only fair that when you make an assertion about someone it should be substantiated with instances or evidence otherwise it is conjecture, and besmirches another person’s good name without just cause. Remember the eight commandment: “Thou shall not bear false witness”.

  • Anonymous

    Please refer to LM’s comments on twitter [all readily available - just google] and her responses when challenged by spuc’s justifiable condemnation of her proposed amendment. It was quite apparent that she was too busy trying to counter misunderstandings in her position [by major online bloggers like cranmer] while failing to see the real consequences of her proposals [ultimately the closure of all pro-Life centres].

    I am fully aware of the 8th commandment but am also aware of the sin of detraction – so will not go down that route – I repeat : She’s an opportunist.

  • David Lindsay

    Nadine Dorries, defender of council housing from David Cameron, although quite wrong to blame the Coalition’s anti-conservative policies on the Lib Dems as if Cameron and most of the rest of her Commons co-partisans were not of exactly the same views?
     
    Or Marie Stopes, author of extravagant, versified love letters to Hitler? Marie Stopes, who disowned her own son because he married a woman who wore glasses. Marie Stopes, who campaigned for the compulsory sterilisation of “the C3 population”, of “half-castes” and of “revolutionaries”, among numerous others. Marie Stopes, who opened dozens of clinics in working class areas to reduce the number of “undesirables” by persuasion if force were politically impossible.
     
    Yet those clinics now retain the right to “counsel” women considering the abortions that they have a gigantic financial interest in ensuring go ahead. They still carry the name of Marie Stopes. Our televisions now carry their adverts. Our 50p stamps have recently carried her image. And we all carry the shame.
     
    The sole right to counsel in relation to abortion remains reserved to the commercial providers of abortion. A Conservative MP demands that places of worship which refuse to host same-sex “weddings” lose their right to conduct weddings at all. And there turns out to be hardly any of the legally required Christian collective worship in state schools that Margaret Thatcher tried to abolish until an all-party alliance in the House of Lords managed to beat her. Look out for her desired transformation of Sunday and Christmas Day into ordinary shopping days on which the lower orders can therefore be required to work. How the years are rolling back. Ed Miliband, over to you.