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Anti-abortion activity
By Ellie Lee

1. Life funding application rejected

In recent years, the U.K. anti-choice organisation Life has devoted time and energy to promoting its post-abortion 'counselling services', which it contends are needed to help women suffering from 'post-abortion trauma'.

It was reported this week however that the Department of Health has rejected a bid from Life for funding for its 'post-abortion counselling' and also for its hostels for pregnant women. Life had asked for £285 000, over three years, to be allocated to it from a £21 million budget put aside under Section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act. Grants have been awarded to Brook Advisory Services and the Family Planning Association.

Jack Scarisbrick, the chairman of Life was reported to have commented: 'We are very angry. Life is helping thousands of women and children every year, and many of them from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged.' He added: 'It is outrageous that hundreds of millions of taxpayers' pounds are poured every year into abortion, contraception and politically correct causes like lesbian and gay 'rights', Aids, alcoholism and women's societies, but not a penny is available to the pro-life cause'.

An editorial in The Catholic Herald drew attention to 'Life's professional pregnancy and post-abortion counselling service provided by its 130 care centres and national hotline', its '..36 houses...and ambitious plan for second-stage "foyer" accommodation for single-parent families...' and claimed that: 'Life has been the victim of unblushing ideological discrimination'.

It certainly seems that the claim made by Life, that it is as concerned with women's welfare, as with the 'unborn child', and therefore should be rewarded with government funding, has failed to convince U.K. government officials.

'State snub for pro-life charity', The Catholic Herald, 16 June 2000 'the right to kill...and the rights of Life', Editorial, The Catholic Herald, 16 June 2000

2. Parliamentary Questions (information notified by Amanda Callaghan, Public Affairs Manager, BPAS)

Written questions 19 June 2000

Abortion Clinics

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints he has received against abortion clinics in the past year; which clinics were concerned in each case; and what the nature of each complaint was. [125408] Yvette Cooper: The Department has only received one complaint in the last year and as this is currently being investigated it is inappropriate to comment further. Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the fees that are paid to private abortion clinics for the receipt of fetal tissue by NHS organisations. [125407] Yvette Cooper: No fees are paid to private abortion clinics. The "Code Of Practice On The Use Of Fetuses And Fetal Material In Research And Treatment" issued by the Department in July 1989 states there should be no monetary exchange for fetuses or fetal tissue.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what statutory provisions govern the disposal of the bodies and organs of induced-aborted babies. [125405] Yvette Cooper: Before 24 weeks gestation, there are no specific legal requirements but we recommend that full account be taken of any personal wishes that have been expressed about disposal of foetal tissue. If appropriate the options available should be raised with parents especially where there is an identifiable body at later gestations. If no personal wishes have been expressed foetuses should be incinerated. Terminations carried out after 24 weeks gestation (the legal age of viability) are registered as stillbirths and the law requires the body to be buried or cremated. 19 Jun 2000 : Column: 53W

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the abortion clinics which send fetal tissue to the fetal tissue banks at (a) the Medical Research Council based at Hammersmith Hospital, (b) the Institute of Child Health, London and (c) the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. [125406] Yvette Cooper: The Marie Stopes Park View Clinic supplies foetal tissue to the Medical Research Council tissue bank based at Hammersmith Hospital. No abortion clinics supply foetal tissue to the other tissue banks listed.


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