Pro-life campaigners have welcomed the suspension of some services offered by one of the country’s biggest abortion providers, after an investigation prompted serious concerns about patient safety.
Following the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) inspection of clinics in England, Marie Stopes has decided to suspend abortions under general anaesthetic and to girls under the age of 18 and vulnerable women after safeguarding concerns and consent issues were raised.
Marie Stopes has also announced that all surgical abortions at its Norwich centre will stop.
Prof Edward Baker, deputy chief inspector of hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, said it was right for Marie Stopes to suspend a number of services.
“At all times, our priority is to ensure that patients get safe, high-quality and compassionate care,” he said.
“We believe that the action taken is appropriate to address our concerns.”
NHS England said the decision would affect around 250 women a week and that it would assist them in procuring abortions.
Last year, a doctor and two nurses were charged with the manslaughter of a woman who died hours after an abortion she procured at a Marie Stopes Clinic. The 32-year-old, from Dublin, died hours after the abortion at the clinic in Ealing, west London, in January 2012.
Peter D Williams, executive officer at Right to Life UK, said: “Abortion is always destructive of the lives of unborn children, but when prosecuted as it has been by some abortionists, it can leave women scarred as well. I hope this opens a real debate about the under-regulation of abortion in the UK; one that leads to a proper respect and application of the original intention of Parliament in 1967 and the welfare of women – and increasingly their unborn children – to be made paramount”.
The charity Life, which helps women facing crisis pregnancies said that the revelations were “scandalous”.
Life spokesman, Clara Watson said: “It is absolutely scandalous that Marie Stopes International, which likes to talk about women dying from unsafe abortions, is itself being rapped for exposing patients to potential harm. This is not the first time that Marie Stopes clinics have been in the news. If in the United Kingdom a regulatory body has to step in to save patients, we must rightly wonder about the safety of millions of women who go to this organisation’s clinics worldwide where there may not be regulatory bodies like the CQC.
“We commend the CQC for its thorough inspection of abortion clinics over the last year. Marie Stopes provides over 70,000 abortions a year. It is important that those who promote themselves as acting in the interest of women whilst raking in millions of pounds of taxpayers money every year are always held under scrutiny to ensure women are not harmed.”
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