Comment & Opinion

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Press Release: Right To Life Applauds Damning CQC Report on Abuses in Marie Stopes Abortion Facilities

Yesterday, the Care Quality Commission released a damning report, detailing the abuses and failures in the abortion facilities of Marie Stopes International (MSI), the independent sector group that performs over a third of all abortions in the UK.

The report described poor levels of training and standards in surgical safety, anaesthesia, the reporting of incidents, life support, and the safeguarding of young girls and women with learning impairments.

This is not the first time that such failures have happened. In 2012, a judge-ordered investigation occurred into a Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing that performed an abortion on a 32 year old Irish woman called Aisha Chithira, a mother-of-one who died from a heart attack in a taxi caused by extensive internal blood loss.

Nor are such failures limited to MSI. The Richmond branch of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) was similarly censured by the CQC last year for breaking UK law, including in the way they were disposing of the bodies of dead babies after abortion, and the reporting of incidents where women had been harmed at their clinics.

Amongst the more concerning and horrifying of revelations of the latest CQC Report:

  • On page 19, experimentation with a new kind of abortion procedure – simultaneous administration of two abortifacients – is described as being practised without notification of the potentially dangerous risks to patients.
  • On page 29, a disturbing story is recounted about a woman with learning impairments having an abortion performed on her without her informed consent. As the Report states, “Consent to treatment for this patient was not carried out in a way [she] could understand and we observed the situation was poorly and insensitively handled by doctors”.
  • Page 7 summarises (and page 12 further describes) that “[s]taff had no training in respect of female genital mutilation or child sexual exploitation, putting these patients at risk of further abuse”.
  • Page 36 describes the bulk signing of HSA1 forms (at 30-60 at a time), which could enable illegal abortions (e.g. sex-selective abortions).

More noteworthy sections of the report are pointed to on the Right To Life website.

Right To Life is saddened at these revelations, but applauds the CQC on uncovering the abuses and failings of MSI abortion practice, and calls for stronger regulations, transparency, and oversight in abortion practice.

RTL Executive Officer Peter D. Williams said:

The CQC report into Marie Stopes (MSI), one of the largest abortion providers in the country, is nothing short of an indictment. It reveals appalling failures within that organisation, and illustrates how abortion practice can enable abuse of vulnerable women and girls.

We have seen for years from horrible cases such as that of Ashli Blake, a sexually-abused 13-year old who committed suicide in 2014, that abortion can cover up sexual assault. Yet MSI staff were found to be unable to explore child sexual exploitation when taking consent from children and young persons, and were limited in reporting potential safeguarding alerts by MSI policies and practices.

The pre-signing of forms meanwhile, which has happened before, and enables illegal abortions to take place with impunity, illustrates the lax approach taken by medical professionals that enables the abortion on demand system under which we currently suffer. Cases such as the suicides of artist Emma Beck in 2007, and young Mum Jade Rees last year, who both ended their own lives after being left personally scarred by abortions, shows the need for this situation to end, and the will of Parliament to be finally respected.

This report points to the need for more stringent regulatory oversight and protections to ensure that women and girls, at a profoundly vulnerable point in their lives, do not fall victim to the callous and thoughtless betrayal of their welfare as has been demonstrated to exist in MSI and broader abortion practice. This, for too many, has been the reality of so-called ‘choice’.