RCOG Smoke and Mirrors
Posted Tuesday, 22 February 2011 at 06:32
The issue of abortion is an emotive one, which attracts ideologues on both sides of the argument.
The left feel so strongly pro-abortion, that campaign groups such as 'Voice for Choice' are Union funded and pro-life groups are run by people with a Christian ethos, rooted in biblical testimony.
One would hope, however, that professional bodies, such as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, would not hold a firm position on either side of the argument and would pride themselves on remaining neutral - on both the ethical and ideological issues - and that they would concentrate solely on the substantive issues, such as foetal sentience and the physical effects and consequences of abortion.
The RCOG was charged by the previous government with the task of reviewing the 2004 guidelines regarding the care of a woman seeking an induced abortion.
Eighteen eminent members were formed into a working group to redraft the requested guidance, however, many doctors and professionals have been dismayed at the way the RCOG group has gone about its business.
The first point of concern is the group itself. Eleven of the group are abortionists, two are abortion clinic providers and one is a celebrity doctor.
You could be forgiven for thinking it's a bit like asking British American Tobacco to write a set of guidance on the risks of smoking.
The group has completely ignored the findings of a landmark study recently published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, that women who abort are 30% more likely to develop mental health problems than those who don’t, and instead, has relied on a highly criticised review by the American Psychological Association.
They also make no mention of the fact that the Royal College of Psychiatry is currently carrying out a major review of the subject, the results of which are still awaited.
In publishing the draft report on their website, the RCOG forgot to tell stakeholders that the consultation period had begun and allowed only twenty working days for comment.
Government guidelines for public consultation are twelve weeks. As the RCOG guidelines will be the base of Government policy and two members of the group are from the Department of Health, one would have expected at least twelve weeks to have been adhered to and actually, as this is such an emotive subject with wide public interest and concern, any sensible person would have assumed an extension to 20 weeks - allowing all interested parties to contribute and for the appropriate level of public scrutiny of submissions to occur.
I was stunned to discover on the 17th of February that the closing date for submissions was the following day, the 18th.
As Parliament was to close for recess that day, I had literally hours to have that date reviewed and via a question on the floor of the House to Sir George Young, managed to have the date extended to the 25th.
This is still woefully inadequate and as a result, I will lay down an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill for the responsibility for drafting the guidelines to be removed from the RCOG and transferred to the cross party Health Select committee, of which I am a member.
This way, evidence can be taken from a wide variety of individuals, including Psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, midwives, and patients themselves.
The RCOG have let both themselves and women down by acting in such a hasty and self interested manner.
The very least members of the working group should have to do is declare their interests and state how much they earn from working in the abortion industry and where the money comes from.
Daylight is the best disinfectant. Its time for the RCOG to move into this century and realise that operating in such a cloak and dagger manner is no longer acceptable. The public want to know what they are doing and why.
But more than that, the women they are purporting to help would like to know that the guidelines were drawn up with their best interests and welfare at heart. Unfortunately, there were interests at play, but not those of women seeking an induced abortion.
Posted Friday, 18 February 2011 at 15:08
Today has seen a great deal of positive response to the debate I held in Westminster Hall regarding the IPC process. It would be difficult to overestimate the depth of public feeling to this issue and I am happy to be taking a number of constituents to meet the Minister in his office on the evening of Monday the 28th. Not so sure he will be looking forward to it as much as my constituents are though!
I have also held meetings at Samuel Whitbread school, Robert Bloomfied and additional meeting with Bedfordshire Police - more on that another day- and now off to meet a group of local residents.
And there's more
Posted Tuesday, 15 February 2011 at 15:27
No to AV
Posted Tuesday, 15 February 2011 at 14:19
The No 2 AV campaign launched today.
Lord Robert Winston and Matthew Elliott made, in my opinion, the following accurate statements
Robert Winston said:
"Paying for proper constitutional reform can be justified. But paying millions for a change in the voting system that almost everyone agrees is a miserable little compromise simply can't be justified."
Matthew Elliott said:
"The British people are concerned about the cost of living, their jobs and where the cuts might fall. The Yes campaign think they are concerned about voting systems. At this time is it really right to be spending a quarter of a billion pounds on the Alternative Vote?"
The campaign is going to cost at least £250 billion at a time when both inflation and the numbers of unemployed are rising.
Although Lord Winston and Matthew did an excellent job of launching this unwanted campaign, its Churchill’s quote I like the best;
(AV is) “The worst of all possible plans..the stupidest.. the least scientific…and the most unreal. The decision is to be determined by the most worthless votes, given to the most worthless candidates”
Amen to that.
Songs of Praise
Posted Monday, 14 February 2011 at 13:39
The Songs of Praise programme is stepping over into Mid Bedfordshire next week as it follows the path of John Bunyan.
I hope the programme is as good as this week, and that Bedford delivers a rendition of a hymm to compare with that of one played and sang by Fat Fish, 1 min 56 in.. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006ttc5
Turn up the volume..
Posted Monday, 14 February 2011 at 12:50
Following on from last weeks demonstration - and I have to say, well done to the Beds Times and Citizen for appreciating how important this issue is to local people and the excellent coverage they have given the NO to Covanta campaign - this week bring a new round of discussions and debate in Parliament.
On Wednesday I have a debate dedicated to the role of the IPC and the guidelines it will use to decide yes or no to the Covanta application. The debate will be followed by further talks with Oliver Letwin, and I have just secured a date for a number of local people to attend a meeting with the Minister responsible, in his office at the Department, to ensure that he fully understands the depth of local feeling against this incinerator.
The fight continues....
In the meantime, I am working on an amendment with another MP which will shortly be laid before Parliament... more on that later.
Posted Thursday, 10 February 2011 at 11:49
Today, despite the whip having been dropped to one line, I will very definitely be voting against allowing prisoners the right to vote.
The option to allow prisoners the vote, is being forced upon us by the European Court of Human Rights. So, what exactly is the European Court going to do to us if we don't comply? Throw us out of Europe? That would be a blessing, but somehow I don't think so. The chatter is that if we reject it now, it will come back within the year and we will be forced, as a result of some legal ruling or other against us, to vote despite our heavy heart.
That just isn't going to happen. Some of us feel very strongly about rapists, robbers and drug dealers being given a vote to decide who they would like to make the law. And I am not the only one. I think I will be walking through the Noe lobby with quite a few of my colleagues today.
Wide Eyed and Localist
Posted Wednesday, 9 February 2011 at 13:07
Yesterday, I had an excellent one to one meeting with the Prime Minister. It came with coffee. The code is no coffee means bad news. Tonight I am taking the chair of Aspley Guise Parish Council, Ian Pickering, to meet Oliver Letwin MP. Oliver is responsible for drafting the National Policy Statements. The Chair of Aspley Guise Parish Council, has turned himself into an expert on this issue and he will be an invaluable help during the meeting. As someone who is a wide eyed localist, I will continue to keep banging on doors until this proposal is rejected and Covanta no longer threatens to darken our Vale.
Posted Tuesday, 8 February 2011 at 18:38
Covanta Demo Friday Feb 4th.
Posted Sunday, 6 February 2011 at 15:09
On a very windy, cold, Friday morning, 150 local people turned out to welcome the IPC to Mid Bedfordshire, as they arrived to take a look at the site proposed for the Covanta incinerator.
The IPC officials were left in no doubt as to how strongly people feel with regard to this proposal.
Two important meetings are taking place at a Government level over the next two weeks and so more feed back then.
Thanks to everyone who turned out.
School Sports Partnership
Posted Wednesday, 2 February 2011 at 14:22
James Stephenson heads up the School Sports Partnership in my constituency and does a fantastic job.
Thanks to computers, satellite TV, DVDs and the X box, many children today live a sedentary lifestyle. When childhood obesity has reached such a level that it is possible that some children have a lower life expectancy than their parents, it puts into perspective the importance of organised sport within schools.
In Flitwick leisure centre, I watched as schools from across the area spent a morning competing in gymnastics and it was a fantastic sight to see. The children spent an entire morning engaged in physical activity and as we know - for some - that may be the only exercise they get until the next PE lesson.
James and his team do a great job and if I have any criticism, it is that they have hidden their light under a bushel and been a bit slow letting everyone know just how hard they work.
The Prime Minister and Covanta
Posted Tuesday, 1 February 2011 at 15:49
On Friday morning, I shall be joining hundreds of my constituents in Mid Bedfordshire at a demonstration in order to make sure that the IPC understand the strength of local feeling against the proposed Covanta incinerator in Mid Bedfordshire.
The IPC will be visiting the proposed site, Rookery Pit, with representatives of Covanta and local Councils. MMAG are organising a demonstration at the entrance to the site to provide a warm Bedfordshire welcome to the IPC Commissioners.
If you would like to join us, please meet in Green Lane, near Stewartby railway station
at 10.30 a.m on Friday morning and bring your Vuvuzela’s with you ! We want to make sure the IPC leave Bedfordshire in no doubt whatsoever as to how we feel about Covanta.
In the meantime, I have a question at Prime Ministers Questions tomorrow and I am going to ask the Prime Minister to join us and if he can’t, which is quite likely, ask for his help on behalf of all of Bedfordshire to stop this happening.