Pro-life groups have condemned Marie Stopes International after inspectors uncovered a catalogue of dangerous and illegal practices at private abortion clinics.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said that staff at Marie Stopes International (MSI) had ‘limited training’ in resuscitation and clinicians were found to be ‘bulk-signing’ forms authorising abortions.
Doctors in one location, who were observed obtaining consent from a woman with a learning disability, failed to ensure she understood the procedure and handled the consultation ‘poorly and insensitively’, according to the report.
Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said that one of the most disturbing findings in the report was the revelation that a woman with learning disabilities was to be allowed to have an abortion without fully understanding the procedure or consequences.
“This is deeply shocking, and reveals a complete disregard for both mother and baby,” she said. “How could anyone with a scrap of humanity or compassion do such a thing?”
She called on the Irish media to make women aware of the report, and to ensure that women were aware of the risks they faced when being sent to Marie Stopes by referral agencies based in Ireland.
Some staff obtaining consent from patients also appeared to have insufficient knowledge of procedures, the CQC added.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) called for the Marie Stopes operation to be closed down in the wake of the damning revelations.
“It is beyond comprehension that these state-sponsored death factories are allowed to remain open despite 2,600 failures being uncovered by inspectors – reportedly including doctors going home while women remained unsedated and foetuses thrown into bins instead of being cremated,” said SPUC chief executive John Smeaton. “It beggars belief that the Care Quality Commission has failed to take the ultimate sanction.”
Mr Smeaton noted that the taxpayer is providing the vast majority of the income for these clinics.
“On a broader issue, it must be remembered that the law permits abortion only when there is a health risk to the mother meaning that continuing the pregnancy is more dangerous for her than an abortion. But the Department of Health and the CQC disregard the law and thousands of women are mis-certified for abortion,” he added.
“It is a matter of fact that 98 per cent of abortions are certified on mental health grounds when the government’s own evidence shows that there’s no real risk to the woman’s mental or physical health if she has the baby. In these circumstances, these abortions are illegal.
“If abortion agencies had the welfare of women truly at heart, they would ensure that the illegal practices that Marie Stopes and others follow are stopped.”
MSI suspended surgical abortions for girls under 18 and vulnerable women in August after concerns were raised by the CQC about patient safety.
It also halted terminations under general anaesthetic or conscious sedation and suspended all surgical terminations at the provider’s Norwich centre.
But MSI, which performs around 70,000 abortions every year, was allowed to resume services in October after the CQC said it was satisfied that the organisation had improved standards.
“Pregnant women are suffering intolerably. The CQC is defending illegal government abortion policy which kills children and sometimes women too. Women are not being offered proper support when facing difficulties in pregnancy – simply being channelled into the abortion industry funded by the Department of Health,” added Mr Smeaton.
“Voluntary sector groups like the pro-life organisations, churches and family support groups struggle to provide real practical help but the statutory providers offer pregnant women nothing but abortion. The departmental policy fuels abortion on an industrial scale – 550 abortions every day in Britain. Abortion is an inherently risky interference in the natural pregnancy process.
“Aisha Chithira, who died after a bungled abortion at a Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing, represents only the tip of the iceberg of women who are killed, injured or left with long term problems resulting from infection, extreme emotional distress or other factors. Jade Rees, who committed suicide 3 weeks after a ‘legal’ abortion last year, shows how dangerous abortion is to women from a mental health perspective.”
The report found that 2,634 incidents had been recorded at MSI locations between 2015 and 2016 – a rise of 704 from the previous year – but the organisation had provided ‘limited’ explanation as to why this had happened.
“This is not the first time that such failures have happened,” said RTL Executive Officer Peter D. Williams. “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,” he added. “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.
Picture: Pro life campaigners outside Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast. (Paul Faith/PA).