Nadine Dorries is not Michele Bachmann

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Nadine Dorries is not Michele Bachmann


It does not make sense to compare British pro-life campaigners to America's religious right

For anyone not familiar with the contours of the latest debate on abortion, MPs Nadine Dorries and Frank Field have proposed an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill which would have the effect of preventing the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes International from providing counselling for women with unwanted pregnancies.

Critics have raised concerns that the largest independent alternatives are faith-based, and therefore liable to try and influence clients against pregnancy termination. They suggest that this is effectively an anti-abortion gambit from the “Christian right,” proof again that we should “keep ‘faith’ out of politics.” For Hadley Freeman of the Guardian, this is an example of British politicians “adopting the Christian-right’s anti women attitudes” and for Laurie Penny in the New Statesman, proof that a “small, vocal, venal group

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  1. September 7, 2011


    Great article only one error: ‘which would have the effect of preventing the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes International from providing counselling for women with unwanted pregnancies.’ The amendments tabled do not do this they only attempt to ensure that women have the option of counselling from an alternative to that provided by the abortionists themselves. Even this incredibly modest measure supported by 80% of women in the UK (see Comres) is opposed by the abortion industry and its political lobbyists!

  2. September 7, 2011


    What rose-tinted planet are you on? Where I live the local Christian Party activists are already trying to take over the local council and appear to have developed some sort of pact with the local Tories. It’s happening and happening here in the UK.

  3. September 13, 2011

    Roland Baker

    Correct me if I am wrong but Nadine Dorries has just voted in favour of the Health and Social Care Bill’s principal reforms for GP Commissioning that will allow the private sector into patient care on a bigger scale.

    She sees no conflict of interest between the needs of patients and the desires of the shareholders of healthcare companies because all private business is as pure as the driven snow can make it. So no patient should ever be at risk from diverting company money into directors’ remuneration or dividends and away from service delivery. You only have to look at some of the NHS Foundation Trust and social care home failures to see how right Ms Dorries is.

    So why can organisations that provide abortion services not manage any conflict of duty between their commercial interests and a duty to provide objective advice? Per contra organisations that depend on religious patronage can separate Church from State without difficulty.

    Nadine Dorries wants to look like a tea-party but, in the debate on her amendment on abortion, she specifically stated that abortion is here to stay for unwanted pregnancies. How about handing out free condoms so the abortion issue just goes away?

  4. September 14, 2011

    Gabriel Bonnar

    Nomenclature is cockeyed where the contentious issue of abortion is concerned. Pro-lifers and pro-choicers often share pro-human values that the op-ed parti pris journalists prefer to ignore. In the USA some upper echelons of the GOP favour legalized abortion but remain low key on it because they cynically believe that bible belt voters identify pro-abortion ideology exclusively with the Democratic Party. Many Democrat public representatives, especially in the eastern cities, are painfully aware that their party has in recent decades lost swathes of its core support among blue collar voters who do not favour abortion.

    It is intellectually misleading to categorise pro-lifers as standing on the Right and pro-choicers as standing on the Left. A range of other issues such as taxation, welfare policies, support for public education, support for overseas wars, attitudes to financial institutions, attitudes to overseas aid etc. need to be taken into account before branding people and groups as Left or Right.

  5. January 13, 2012

    Beth Granter

    Since Labour are also right-wing, the fact that Labour MPs are often anti-choice or Christian does not change the fact that many right-wing Christians are anti-choice. That’s because it fits with right wing ideology of the need for a family unit to ensure paternity lines for inheritance of property, and to enslave women in the home as unpaid carers and mothers. And it fits with the Christian ideology of no sex before / outside of marriage.

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Paul Bickley

Paul Bickley is senior researcher at the think tank Theos 

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