Back in May following the controversial airing of a Marie Stopes abortion ad on TV, their spokesperson Judy Douglas said that they aimed to open up the debate, promote honest discussion, and break one of societies last remaining taboo's.
"Abortion has been legal in this country for more than 40 years and we believe it is time to open up the debate,"She said.
We like it when we hear that organisations seek to be transparent. We feel it means we can trust them more because they have nothing to hide.
And they know that we like it. That's why you'll be hard pressed to find an election manifesto, from parliament to the PTA, which doesn't include the words "open" and "honest".
I'm cynical about an organisation whose foundress was a fanatical supporter of eugenics and an admirer of Adolf Hitler; whose slogan "Joyful and Deliberate Motherhood, A Safe Light in our Racial Darkness."doesn't appear on the Marie Stopes promotional bumph today; who set up birth control centres to deal with the problem of what she referred to as "human weeds" and "morons, misfits and the maladjusted...over running the human garden". So this quote made me cock an eyebrow:
"Research indicates that 42 percent of adults have no idea where to go — apart from their GP — for specialist advice about an unplanned pregnancy, even though one in three women in the U.K. will have an abortion in their lifetime," Judy Douglas, from Maria Stopes, told Sky News Online.
Kerching! Think of the untapped market out there. Come on people, come out of your myopic NHS mindset. You have choice! Get out your Visa card and consider the marketplace of options you have to destroy your children.:
Marie Stopes Abortion fees:
Pregnancy test £5
Telephone consultation £80
One to one consultation £80
(This is separate to the fees for any treatment. Every person having an abortion has a consultation first, so the total fee is for the consultation fee plus the treatment fee. You can choose to have either a telephone consultation or a one to one consultation at the centre).
Medical abortion (abortion pill) up to 9 weeks £440
Up to 12 weeks, non anaesthetic £510
Up to 14 weeks conscious sedation £585
Up to 14 weeks general anaesthetic £640
Over 14-19 weeks conscious sedation £740
Over 14-19 weeks general anaesthetic £785
Over 19-24 weeks general anaesthetic £1720
Please note that an additional £35 fee is charged for all abortion services
carried out during weekends.
Abortion aftercare service free
Sterilisation with abortion up to 13 weeks £1500
IUD fitted at time of treatment £70
Mirena IUD fitted at time of treatment £150
Implant (Implanon) at time of treatment £160
Contraceptive pill supplies are free for clients attending for abortion
The cost of a face-to-face initial consultation is £80 or you may wish to use our telephone consultation service at a cost of £80. This fee is for the consultation part of the service only and is non-refundable.
For the face-to-face consultation you can pay this when you come to the centre. Please see paying for the procedure for details about how you can pay.
For the telephone consultation, you must pay for this at the time of the consultation.
We can take the following credit / debit cards: Mastercard, Visa or Switch, Delta, Solo, and Electron.
Paying for the procedure
On arrival at the centre you will be asked for payment. Please note that an additional £35 fee is charged for all abortion services carried out during weekends.
You can choose to pay by cash, Mastercard, Visa, Switch, Delta, Solo, or Electron.
Well I don't know much about the cost of an abortion, but that doesn't look like "charity prices" to me.
But nota bene:
"A registered charity, Marie Stopes International also works around the world in 43 countries. Surplus funds from the UK clinics, help support vital sexual and reproductive healthcare programmes in some of the world’s poorest regions. So by using Marie Stopes International services in the UK, you are also helping improve the lives of nearly 6 million people every year."
So, when you give your money to the open and honest, brave taboo smashing Marie Stopes, it does double duty. You can feel good knowing that you're helping women in poor countries to get abortions too. Warm glow!
Well Mike Gilbart-Smith, who is a pastor of a Baptist church in Fulham, decided to take them up on their offer to open up the debate.
He sent MSI a letter asking them 20 questions that he couldn't find answers to on their website.
This is the letter he sent:
I’m writing as a pastor of a church who is going to be addressing the issue of abortion in my teaching and in some upcoming articles in the light of your recent advertising. I want to make sure that I would not be misrepresenting you in any way at all, though I should make clear to you that I do believe that abortion, and particularly providing abortion is immoral.
However, I also want to be as courteous as I can with those with whom I disagree. I do not want to assume bad motivation for what you are doing. I understand the arguments of wanting to provide “safe” (obviously for the mother and not the baby) abortion when your fear is that if “safe” abortion were not provided, then back street abortion would inevitably be sought. The compassion you show to mothers I believe to be genuine, but misplaced.
I do happen to agree with what I heard a Marie Stopes spokesperson say when she was hoping that there would be a removing of the taboo about speaking about abortion. I too hope that this taboo will be removed so that there can be an honest public debate about abortion.
To contribute to this debate I hope to write some articles about abortion and about Marie Stopes in particular. There is much information on your website, but there were some questions that I didn’t find answers to, which I would be very grateful if you’d answer.
I must also be clear that intend to distribute your answers.
If you would rather meet in person to have a face to face conversation, I would also be very glad to do that.
(I will use the term “mother” for the pregnant woman). Feel free to exchange the term for “Pregnant woman” if you would prefer that term, or to use another term of your choosing.
1) When speaking to a mother will you always make it clear exactly what help is available to mothers who decide to keep the baby.
2) What ongoing support do you offer to mothers who decide to keep the baby?
3) Do you always ask mothers if they are feeling pressurised into having abortions from others (e.g. boyfriends, husbands, parents, or the general expectations of society)?
(Several women whom I have spoken to who have had abortions have told me that they felt immense pressure that in a society where abortion is legal, there will be people telling them that having an abortion is “doing the right thing” and that it is irresponsible to have the baby.)
4) Do you always suggest to mothers that it is never irresponsible to carry a baby and give birth once they are pregnant?
5) I’ve noticed in your FAQ’s that in more than sixty questions there is a lot of information about abortion, but there is no information on the development of the foetus. Do you think that the developmental stage of the foetus should be a factor that a mother should be informed about in order to have adequate information in making a decision as to whether to have an abortion?
6) I understand that you must legally have a sonographic scan before an abortion is carried out. What details from that scan will you always communicate to the mother so that she might make a correctly informed decision?
a. Will you always tell the mother the estimated age of the foetus?
b. Will you always tell the mother what this corresponds to in terms of development?
c. Could you outline the detail that you would go into as to the development of the foetus, with the following being a suggestive rather than an exhaustive list?
i. Will you tell the mother whether there is a heartbeat?
ii. Will you tell the mother whether the child has a brain?
iii. Will you tell the mother whether the child has a limbs and fingers and fingernails?
iv. Will you tell the mother whether the child has ears eyes and a nose?
v. Will you tell the mother which internal organs of the child are functional?
vi. Will you tell the mother the gender of the foetus if that is discernable?
d. If you don’t volunteer that information do you always ask the mother if she would be interested in knowing the facts about the foetus’ development in order to help her make her decision?
7) Do you have a policy in training staff that they avoid the terms “baby” or “child” in reference to the foetus?
8) Do you have a policy encouraging staff to use the term “pregnancy” instead of “foetus” or an equivalent term that would point to the fact that there is an organism other than the mother involved in the pregnancy?
9) Do you have a position as an organisation about when a human embryo/foetus becomes a human being?
10) Do you think that it would be morally acceptable to provide abortion even if you believed the foetus was already a human being?
11) If infanticide were legalised in some country, would you offer that as a service?
12) What is the minimum time allowed for a proper counselling session to look through all possible options before going ahead with an abortion?
13) How much did the NHs pay you last year to carry out abortions?
14) Do you think that there is any conflict of interest in Marie Stopes providing advice on whether a mother should have an abortion when Marie Stopes is paid for providing abortions?
15) In order to get your email address I phoned the 0845 300 80 90 number. Will my call automatically be counted in your statistics as being from a woman who called for advice but didn’t receive an abortion?
16) If a woman calls your line twenty times, will they be “counted” on your statistics of the number of women you’ve helped once or twenty times?
17) If after an abortion, the baby (I assume we can now use this term without controversy as she is outside the womb) shows some signs of life, do you have a policy stating that the medical personnel present should act to resuscitate? Do you have a policy saying that they may not act to resuscitate?
18) Would you carry out an abortion if the stated reason given by the woman was that she wanted a boy, and this foetus is a girl?
19) If asked would you carry out a selective abortion in order to remove the healthy girl from the womb and leave the healthy boy in the womb?
20) In your five abortion clinics in China, what proportion of those who are aborted are girls?
Thank you so much for your willingness to answer these questions. In removing the taboo from conversation about abortion I trust that you are wanting honest, open and informed debate. I hope that you taking the time to answer these questions will add to the honesty and help to remove the taboo from the abortion conversation.
Perhaps if you want to add to the honesty of the debate you’d also be happy to post the answers you give on your own website?
That was back in May.
He's still waiting for an answer. So much for opening the debate.
The trouble is, for Marie Stopes, and all abortion providers, the taboo's work in their interests.
So it looks like they don't really want to bravely break taboo's and have the debate at all.
Actually, it looks like they really just want a lucrative slice of the NHS's "reproductive health" pie.
Remember to take a look at the website for 40 Days For Life, and consider participating.
( Edited to add a belated hat tip to Maria Stops Abortion, where this letter was picked up)