Women again put at risk in BPAS Merseyside abortion clinic, says Care Quality Commission

One of the UK’s largest abortion clinic is still putting women at risk two years after it was condemned by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for a litany of health concerns, a report has revealed.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) abortion clinic in Merseyside has been given the worst rating that any private abortion clinic since the new CQC rating system was introduced.

When the CQC rates abortion clinics, they ask if they are safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs, and well-led. BPAS Merseyside was rated as “requires improvement” on both safety and leadership. It is the only clinic to be given such a rating since the system was introduced in September 2017.

The CQC were contacted by the local NHS trust who “raised concerns regarding the frequency of patients coming to them from BPAS Merseyside”.

Inspectors found six cases of women who “required urgent medical attention due to complications and were transferred from the service to another healthcare provider between January and December 2018.” Five of these cases were reported as serious incidents requiring further investigation.

Their report revealed “the service did not consistently follow best practice when prescribing, giving, recording and storing medicines. We found out of date medicines in the clinic rooms and on the emergency drugs trolley and the controlled drug register was not always accurately completed.”

It found that BPAS Merseyside “staff did not consistently adhere to the infection prevention and control measures specified by the service” including not washing hands, not securing clinical waste, and using out of date equipment.

In addition, risk assessments were not fully completed and the clinic did not always provide reasonable support after notifiable safety incident, in line with the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

This is not the first time that the Care Quality Commission has raised concerns about the care given to women at BPAS Merseyside.

Last year, a surgeon contracted by the clinic was struck off the medical register for exposing patients to the risk of life-threatening conditions during abortions. James Olobo-Lalobo was found by medical practitioners tribunal to have endangered at least three women’s lives during abortions carried out in May and June 2017.

In 2017, the CQC found 16 serious incidents had occurred in which patients were admitted to hospital for emergency treatment over a period of three years. Over the same period, 11 women were transferred for emergency hospital treatment after suffering serious injuries, including eight cases in a 15 month period from January 2015 – March 2016.

A catalogue of health and safety risks were also identified, such as infection control procedures not always being followed during abortion procedures and drug syringes were left without a cap or needle on the end, presenting a risk of cross-infection. No effective systems were in place to ensure resuscitation equipment was regularly checked to protect patients from avoidable harm, and incidents not being properly investigated.

BPAS Merseyside performed 4,585 terminations placing it among the top 10 abortion providers in the country, in 2018.

In 2016, Marie Stopes International (MSI) was forced to suspend abortion services for a month after an unannounced inspection by the CQC “found dead foetuses lying in an open bin and staff trying to give a vulnerable, visibly distressed woman an abortion without her consent”.

Following the suspension of MSI abortion services last year, BPAS’s Chief Executive, Ann Furedi, said, “a failure of clinical governance in an organisation that is a specialist provider of abortion services is of the utmost seriousness and I would expect to see it being treated as a resignation issue for the chief executive.”

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said:

“Yet again we are confronted with the callous disregard for health and safety from the abortion industry. Yet again the two largest abortion providers, who receive tens of millions of pounds of taxpayer money annually, have been found to be placing the health and safety of their patients at risk.

“The Care Quality Commission says this clinic requires improvement but the only real improvement that can be made to abortion clinics, for the lives of both women and unborn babies, would be for them to be closed.”

UK’s largest abortion provider opposes investigation into stillbirths that could save lives

Britain’s largest abortion provider is objecting to life-saving plans that would let coroners hold inquests for stillbirths over fears the move will recognise the humanity and personhood of an unborn baby.

It follows UK government proposals which recommend new powers for coroners that will enable them to hold inquests for ‘full-term’ stillbirths from 37 weeks’ gestation and suggest changes that could save the lives of unborn babies.

In its response to a joint consultation from the Ministry of Justice and Department for Health and Social Care, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service expressed ‘serious concern’ that the proposals risk “conferring a degree of foetal personhood” which is not currently reflected by existing law.

However, bereaved parents, doctors, lawyers and coroners have long been calling for a change in the law which currently allows an inquest for a baby who died seconds after delivery but not for one who died before.

They say stillbirths are too often not properly investigated and a change in the law would provide parents with answers on what went wrong and why, while ensuring any mistakes are identified to prevent future deaths.

Approximately, nine babies are stillborn every day in the UK. That’s one in every 225 births. 800 of stillbirths every year are full-term.

BPAS, who carried out over 70,000 abortions last year, drew a distinction between the “infanticide or murder of a new-born baby versus child destruction of an unborn baby”, noting that stillborn babies are not issued with a birth or death certificate.

They also claim that it is inappropriate to refer to a stillbirth as a “death” in case it indicates a legal personhood the stillborn baby did not have.

Numerous women who had lost children in labour hit back at BPAS’ response. Among them was Caroline Tully, who had to fight for an inquest for her daughter Clara.

She told the Mail on Sunday, that BPAS’ opposition “could come at a cost to the lives of unborn babies, by allowing unsafe practices to go unchecked.”

Michelle Hemmington, of the Campaign For Safer Births, who lost her son due to medical mistakes agreed, adding: “This change could save babies’ lives.”

Spokesperson for Right to Life, Catherine Robinson said:

“In contrast to BPAS’s consultation response, biological science shows that a baby is genetically distinct from the mother from conception. From 16 weeks a baby can hear sounds from the outside world and from 6 weeks the heart can be seen beating on an ultrasound scan at this stage. These facts expose the difficulty in denying the humanity, personhood and right to life of the unborn baby.”

“We hope that the UK government listens to the bereaved parents, doctors, lawyers and coroners who have long been calling for a change in law, that could save lives, and ignore the calls of abortion activists who are more concerned about growing the number of terminations they perform.”

(Image credit: Adobe Stock: File #230884787)

70,000 sign petition calling on UK govt to stop judge forcing women to have abortion against her will

On Friday the 21st May, Justice Lieven ordered that a mother with a learning disability who is 22 weeks pregnant must have an abortion against her will.

Right To Life UK have since started a petition to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, urging him “to intervene in the case, doing all within [his] power to ensure this woman is not forced to have an abortion.” In  less than 48 hours since it was launched, the petition has gathered over 70,000 signatures.

The woman’s doctors claim that an abortion is in her best interests, despite the fact that the woman herself wants the child, and the woman’s mother has offered to raise the child and firmly opposes abortion. Furthermore, the woman’s own legal team have argued that there is “no proper evidence” for the claim that an abortion is the mothers best interests.

In her decision Justice Lieven said: “I think [the woman] would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed [from her care],” Lieven said, because “it would at that stage be a real baby.”

Justice Nathalie Lieven has long been a legal advocate in various pro-abortion cases and in a recent pro-assisted suicide case. In 2005 she represented the Family Planning Association arguing that the law should not require parental consent for girls under the age of 16 seeking an abortion and that there is no duty to inform parents.

In 2011, she represented abortion provider and lobby group the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS). Lieven advocated for women to be able to take the second abortion pill in a chemical abortion outside of a clinical setting.

In 2018, Justice Lieven argued on behalf of the Nothern Ireland Human Rights Commission that the abortion law in Northern Ireland discriminates against women and girls and said it was in breach of Article 3 of the ECHR, which forbids torture and “inhuman or degrading” treatment or punishment.

Finally, in a 2018 Supreme Court legal challenge, Ms Lieven argued on behalf of Noel Conway, a 68 year old man with motor neurone disease, that it should be lawful for him to engage in a medically assisted suicide.

At the time of this court case, which ultimately failed, campaigners against assisted suicide pointed out that it “opens the door to risks and dangers driven by attitudes about disabled people and their lives. It’s worth noting that no disability charity or organisation is campaigning for a change in the law around assisted dying. We want support to live, not to die.”

Clare McCarthy of Right To Life UK said:

“Justice Lieven’s background as a lawyer in numerous abortion advocacy cases calls into question her fitness to adjudicate in this case. The fact that this case relates directly to abortion and the fact that the Judge has a strong background of pro-abortion advocacy, undermines the impartiality of the judiciary.”

“This important trial should not be presided over by a Judge with such a strong pro-abortion bias.”

UK judge orders mother to have abortion against her will

A court has ordered that a mother with a learning disability who is 22 weeks pregnant must have an abortion. The woman is understood to be in her 20s and has been diagnosed with having a moderately severe learning disability.

The woman’s doctors claim that an abortion is in her best interests, despite the fact that the woman herself wants the child. Her social worker disagreed with the doctors and the woman’s legal team has said there was “no proper evidence” for their claim.

The pregnant woman’s own mother has offered to care for her grandchild when he/she is born and argued that her daughter’s doctors have “underestimated her ability and understanding…”

Mrs Justice Lieven, said that she believed it would be too difficult from the grandmother to look after both the daughter and the grandchild.

The Judge said it was an “enormous” decision and that she was “acutely conscious of the fact that for the State to order a woman to have a termination where it appears that she doesn’t want it is an immense intrusion”.

After making this concession, she proceded to order that this woman have an abortion against her will.

“I think [the woman] would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed [from her care],” Lieven said, because “it would at that stage be a real baby.”

Lieven clarified that the pregnancy “although real to [the woman], doesn’t have a baby outside her body she can touch.”

Lieven’s claim that her decision is in the best interest of the woman and “I have to operate in [her] best interests, not on society’s views of termination,” is extremely disingenuous.

In 2011, the judge represented the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Britain’s largest abortion provider, and in 2016 she argued in court that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws were a violation of the United Kingdom’s Human Rights Act. In 2017, she said that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws were akin to torture and were discriminatory.

Right To Life UK have launched a petition to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, urging him to intervene in the case.