The Humanity and Equality in Abortion Reform (HEAR) campaign is expressing renewed concern after the UK’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) released a damning report on abuses in the abortion facilities of Marie Stopes International (MSI).

MSI is one of the biggest abortion providers in Britain, responsible for a third (70,000) of the 200,000 abortions in England, Scotland, and Wales. In August, the CQC instigated the suspension of surgical abortions as well as medical abortions to young women and those with learning impairments at MSI facilities, based on its discovery of serious issues. The description of these were vaguely referred to, but we knew they included levels of training and competence in anaesthesia and sedation, and even ‘issues of consent’.

Now that their full report has been released, we know the full detail of what was discovered. 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.

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 (the forms that authorise an abortion) of 30-60 at a time, which could enable illegal abortions (e.g. sex-selective abortions).

Other noteworthy sections of the report include insufficient levels of training for safeguarding, and basic issues of hygiene.

Sadly, this is nothing new. In 2012, a Judge ordered an investigation into a Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing that had 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 is this limited to MSI. Last year, another abortion provider, the British Pregnancy and Advisory Service (BPAS) had its Richmond branch was similarly censured by the CQC 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.

Whilst saddened at these revelations, HEAR applauds the CQC on uncovering the abuses and failings of MSI abortion practice, and expresses gladness and gratitude that Manx law has protected women on the Island from ever having to suffer from the abuses of MSI or other abortion-providing organisations.

HEAR spokesperson Hannah Grove, said:

“As we pointed out in September, these revelations and actions from the abortion industry across are hugely telling.

When we first heard that MSI had been found to have issues not only with anaesthesia in surgical abortions, but even with ‘issues of consent’, this was chilling. Now the full reality is even worse than we initially imagined. That they could perform an abortion on a woman with a learning impairment, for whom “[c]onsent to treatment… was not carried out in a way [she] could understand”, is nothing short of horrifying. As indeed is their experimenting on women with new and potentially dangerous abortion techniques without letting them know the risks.

All of this gives the lie to the constant ridiculous refrain of the abortion industry and its lobby that their concern is for ‘choice’  and the welfare of women. These organisations run abortion as a business, even if it means running roughshod over women’s right to informed consent, or as the UK Stop Gendercide campaign has pointed out, enabling the abuse of sex-selective abortion. What could be more anti-women and anti-feminist than that?

Further, it also evidences their callous carelessness towards women’s welfare that has led to all the cases of individual women being ultimately harmed by the abortion industry. When sexually abused 13-year old Ashli Blake committed suicide after abortion in 2014, no questions were asked around safeguarding in the ‘clinic’ she attended. Young Mum Jade Rees last year, and artist Emma Beck in 2007, also ended their own lives after being left personally scarred by abortions. Where were the safeguards for them?

Yet despite this appalling behaviour and its consequences, the reaction of the abortion lobby on the Island to the initial MSI suspension was at the time only to express concern that the MSI suspension would limit abortion access, and to indicate their support for BPAS in launching its phoneline to the Isle of Man and Northern IrelandThis was and is truly disgraceful, and their total silence on the concerns raised by either issue suggests that their ideological commitment to the industrial provision of abortions trumps any truly feminist concerns for the safety of women.

In contrast to the British abortion industry and its Manx lobby, the right-to-life movement is concerned about mothers and babies. That is why we celebrate the fact that our law at least protects Manx women and children from the abuses found in British abortion facilities. It is also why we call for our Government to focus not on reducing these protections, but on providing the support both pregnant mothers and their unborn children truly need.

If this issue shows nothing else, it shows that the British abortion law is a failed one. The nations across need to catch up with us, not the other way around. Instead of copying and pasting their outdated and inhumane legislation as some suggest, we should build on our own success by furthering reforms that include and love every member of the Manx family, from the moment of their existence at conception till their natural death. This is what a truly compassionate and progressive society would look like”.


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