BACP backs pre-abortion counselling amendment

UK’s largest counselling body backs pre-abortion counselling amendment to Health Bill  

Press release: Issued by Nadine Dorries MP
The UK's leading professional body for counsellors and psychotherapists has declared its full support for an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, tabled by Nadine Dorries MP and Rt Hon Frank Field MP. If passed, women considering abortion would have a legal right to independent, non-compulsory counselling.

The British Association of Counsellors and Pyschotherapists (BACP) represents over 32,000 individual and organisational members, making it Europe's largest psychotherapy and counselling body.

In a statement the Association underlined its commitment to pre-abortion counselling:

"BACP believes that all women (and their partners if required) considering terminating a pregnancy should be offered free, independent, unbiased and ethical pre and post abortion counselling, offered by trained counsellors. Counselling can help women (and their partners if required), reflect on and understand the often complicated feelings surrounding termination, and can aid decision making.Counselling can also help women come to terms with the psychological consequences of the decisions they make. BACP respects that the laws governing termination of pregnancy in Northern Ireland are laid down in statute and fully understands that counsellors who work in this field in Northern Ireland should pay due regard to the document: Guidance on the Termination of Pregnancy: The Law and Clinical Practice in Northern Ireland."

The announcement follows a statement by the Department of Health last week recognising that women should have access to independent pre-abortion counselling and indicating that the government is considering ways to ensure that it is provided.

Anne Milton, Minister for Public Health, is expected to hold a meeting on the issue this week.

Welcoming the BACP's statement Nadine Dorries MP said:

"Parliament will soon be deciding how health services are delivered in England and Wales in the future. The Health and Social Care Bill provides an ideal opportunity to ensure that women considering abortion have a legal right to non-compulsory, independent counselling and to clarify who is best positioned to provide it. This announcement by the BACP is another important step in demonstrating the breadth of support for what we are seeking to do to improve the services available to women."

"We are delighted that the BACP, an organisation with first-hand experience and extensive expertise in this field, is fully supportive of the rights that we are seeking to give women under this amendment. The fact that it represents over 32,000 members indicates that there are many trained counsellors who would be prepared to offer the kind of counselling required."

Explaining the need for the amendment, Rt Hon Frank Field MP said:

"I think a change is needed because there could appear to be a conflict of interest in that, at the moment, very largely, charities undertake abortion work for us in this country but they are also charged with giving independent advice and in no other area would the person who is going to get the fee for carrying out a service also be entrusted with giving independent advice."

Further information about the campaign backing the amendment is available at

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