Opinion Former Article

Marie Stopes: Abortion Counselling Debate Must Focus on Quality and Choice

Marie Stopes International is calling for the government to focus on quality and choice in its debate on abortion counselling, not politics.

As a leading provider of reproductive health advice to women across the UK and worldwide, the not-for-profit organisation reminds politicians that the critical point in this is that women have rapid access to impartial, non-directive and expert advice from trained counsellors, if they decide they want it. The proposed amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill risk limiting women’s access to expert counsellors who are trained in sexual and reproductive health.

With experience in delivering reproductive health services to more than 100,000 women each year in the UK, Marie Stopes International is confident that the current system offers women the ability to access the information and support they need. Marie Stopes International works with independent counselling professionals to ensure that all of its clients can speak with a counsellor if they wish. They have vast experienced in these sensitive issues and experts at supporting women to explore the full range of options open to them, including continuing with a pregnancy and adoption. These counsellors are all members of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP).

Tracey McNeill, Vice President & Director of UK and West Europe for Marie Stopes International says, “This has become a highly politicised issue and is completely missing the point. We should be discussing how to ensure women have access to impartial, non-directive and expert advice and how to safeguard the independence of counselling. Marie Stopes International values above all else a woman’s right to choose how to proceed with an unplanned pregnancy, and her ability to access comprehensive, impartial and non-judgemental information of her choice”.


Notes to Editors

For spokesperson interviews, media enquiries and images please contact:

Email: press@mariestopes.org.uk

Telephone: 020 3219 8005 / 020 3219 8010

07769 166 516 out of hours


Counselling services provided by Marie Stopes International

· Marie Stopes International values and encourages choice. We provide women with specialist support at what can be a difficult time in their lives and offer independent counselling.

· The counsellors that we work with are all members of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP).

· Counselling is voluntary and offered to everyone who accesses Marie Stopes International’s services.

· There are no targets or incentives for counsellors to promote abortion as an option above any other.

· The majority of women – approximately 90% in Marie Stopes International’s experience - make their decision about an abortion without choosing to speak to a counsellor.

About Marie Stopes International

Our friendly, professional teams are experts in both male and female reproductive healthcare and offer a wide range of services focussed on our client’s individual needs. We are committed to providing our clients with the expertise, advice and counselling they need to make an informed decision on their sexual and reproductive health while all our facilities deliver the highest standards of clinical excellence.

Our charity works to ensure that men and women across the UK and the world are able to access the information, contraception and treatments needed to protect themselves against unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Internationally, Marie Stopes International delivers family planning and sexual healthcare to seven million people in 40 countries each year.

For more information, please visit our website www.mariestopes.org.uk 

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