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Ann Farmer: Marie Stopes and the ‘abortion bonus’


It has been fifty years since the partial decriminalisation of abortion by the Abortion Act 1967. There are now close to 200,000 terminations a year but the industry continues to push for further liberalisation.
According to Care Quality Commission inspectors, staff at Marie Stopes International clinics felt ‘encouraged’ to ensure women went through with abortions because the procedures were linked to their performance bonuses. The inspectors said they found evidence that staff at all Marie Stopes clinics were advised to call women who had decided against an abortion and offer them a new appointment. However MSI insisted: ‘We follow a stringent consent process for all of our clients.’ (Telegraph, October 20, 2017).

If, as previously found, the ‘stringent consent process’ involves two doctors rubber-stamping the ‘procedure’ without seeing the ‘client’ and an interview failing to explain what abortion involves, negative outcomes for women, and positive alternatives, it is surprising that any woman cancels her appointment. But they do; no wonder clinics and their supporters want to abolish the tiresome and time-consuming formalities of ‘counselling’ and pre-signing all those forms – anything that slows the abortion conveyor belt and gives women the opportunity to change their minds.
Even if staff do not receive bonuses to badger reluctant women, clinics sell abortions and campaigners sell the idea of abortion as a positive choice. Any relaxation of the law would be a bonus to them.

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Ann Farmer
Ann Farmer
Ann Farmer is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Movement (Catholic University of America, 2008).

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