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Abortion counselling change defeated in Commons

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An amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill which would have stopped counselling services being provided by abortion providers has been defeated in the Commons.

Tory MP Nadine Dorries championed the change in law, but she was defeated in a free vote of 368 votes to 118, with a majority of 250 not supporting the move.

Proposals to amend the Health and Social Care Bill related to having “independent” services provide counselling to pregnant woman rather than organisations that also conduct terminations.

It was indicated that the three main party leaders were against the changes, although David Cameron was accused by Ms Dorries of being “blackmailed” by his Liberal Democrat coalition partners.

Health minister Anne Milton said that, while the government was “supportive of the spirit of these amendments”, it intended to introduce proposals for its own regulations, “but after consultation”.

Shadow health minister Diane Abbott called Ms Dorries’ amendment “shoddy” and said it was an “ill-conceived attempt to promote non-facts to make a non-case”.

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