Tuesday 8 November 2011

Write to local authorities to stop abortion 'duty' being imposed

According to Anne Milton, the minister for public health, the government is planning to force Local Authorities to provide abortion services under the NHS reforms currently before parliament (the Health and Social Care Bill). This was stated by Mrs Milton in a parliamentary answer. The changes will give responsibilities for commissioning health services to new Local Authority committees in England, and, according to Mrs Milton, the government plans to introduce statutory regulations to force local authorities to provide abortions as part of the new arrangements. This will create a conflict for any councillor who objects to abortion. Regulations forcing Councils to set up contracts with abortion providers (NHS or private) would also create the false idea that there is a legal right to abortion.

Until the new law is finalised and the regulations are drafted we cannot be certain what effect they will have, but we need to act now to alert local councillors to this threat.

Please write to your local councillors* and ask them to write to their chief executive requesting clarification of what the regulations will require. It is important to bear in mind that we are not saying that the current situation should be maintained, but that no statutory duty to commission abortions should be imposed on Local Authorities under the NHS reforms.

* The relevant local authorities are:
Unitary authorities (where these exist), Borough Councils (in London), Metropolitan District Councils, and County Councils elsewhere. (A helpful, informal guide to Local Authority structures can be found at http://www.gwydir.demon.co.uk/uklocalgov/structure.htm )

You can contact your local councillors via http://www.writetothem.com/

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
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