UK Abortion Clinic Staff Say They Were Pressured to Encourage Women to Abort


government report on the United Kingdom’s largest abortion chain, Marie Stopes International, has found allegations that the company based performance bonuses for the staff on encouraging women to have abortions:

One section of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report on the Marie Stopes center in Maidstone, Kent, infers that staff felt pressure to encourage women to go through with abortions because if they did not, it would be marked as a negative “Did Not Proceed'”on their KPIs (key performance indicators).

Under a section of the report discussing access to and flow of abortion procedures, the report states: “Staff were concerned that ‘Did Not Proceed,’ the term used when women decided not to proceed with treatment, was measured as a KPI and linked to their performance bonus. They felt that this encouraged staff to ensure that patients underwent procedures.” …

Staff told inspectors that the clinic had a “very target driven culture with a timed slot for each patient. All the registered nursing staff we spoke with felt patient care and safety were compromised by the need to ‘Keep on top of the list.’ One staff member described it as ”feeling like a hamster in a wheel’ and said the word, ‘Cattle market’ came up quite a lot,” according to the report.

“Staff were also concerned that the pressurized environment and linking of KPIs to performance bonuses meant that there was a culture that worked against patient choice. They talked about [contraceptive] implants being fitted whilst the patient was sedated (at the same time as the operation) and the limited time available to discuss the choices prior to this,” said CQC.

The report also found that minutes from a July 2015 staff meeting showed that there was a “company-wide focus” on women who decided not to have abortions, and that some were called and offered a new appointment.

A previous CQC inspection report published in December 2016 found that Marie Stopes was coercing women to abort and violating safety procedures, leading them to suspend nearly half of the abortions they were performing. More than 2,600 violations were found, according to inspectors.

In particular, the December report found that at a clinic in Norwich, “only 40 percent of the center staff had received consent training. None of the staff had received safeguarding training at level 3. This meant that we were not assured that staff taking consent had the appropriate knowledge, skills and competence to support patients who may be vulnerable or lack capacity to make a decision.” Further, the report also found that doctors at the clinic were pre-signing batches of approval forms for abortions without seeing patients beforehand, and that forms were signed by assistants without being countersigned by a physician, violating policies.

The report also described a case in which a woman with a learning disability was given an abortion even though “consent to treatment was not carried out in a way they could understand and we observed the situation was poorly and insensitively handled by doctors.”

One woman, Jade Stevens, who visited a MSI clinic seven times before ultimately continuing her pregnancy, told the Daily Mail:

“I saw several nurses and explained my situation. I felt like they wanted me to have an abortion. The place was chock-a-block with people. It is all about money. They are not counseling people properly. …

“It was like a conveyor belt. Some [women] were really upset, they were crying but there was no support for them. … It was one in, and literally five minutes later, another one in. They were doing it so quickly.

“Part of me wanted to have an abortion and part didn’t. When I told them I didn’t want the abortion they accused me of wasting their time. I was ushered out of the door half-dressed and in tears.”

“Mission” to Pressure Women

Former abortion clinic staff in the US have also reported that pressure and coercion are widespread. Catherine Anthony Adair’s, a former Planned Parenthood employee, wrote about her experience:

In 1997, I began working at a Boston Planned Parenthood clinic as a young, idealistic college student who strongly believed in what I had been told about the organization, that I would be helping other young women access safe and affordable health care.

My time there was not spent providing prenatal care to pregnant women, providing counseling or basic health care services or educating women about reproductive health.

Instead, I spent my days urging women to terminate their pregnancies. My superiors constantly reminded me of our abortion-centered business model: abortions first, everything else came second.

I began to recognize their emphasis on performing abortions each time a woman would express concern or have second thoughts about having an abortion. When I notified management, though, they told me not to worry and encourage her decision to move ahead with the procedure. …

Planned Parenthood’s mission is to pressure as many women into having an abortion as it can.

The misinformation, lack of counseling and coercion extended to facility workers purposely obscuring information on fetal development, Anthony Adair wrote.

In fact, clinic workers would purposefully avoid providing information on fetal development, what the child looked like, the child’s anatomical development and the pain he or she could feel. I was continuously reminded that when referring to the baby, the appropriate terminology was “clump of cells” or “contents of the uterus.”

Then women would know what was really growing inside them: a little person with a beating heart, functioning nervous system, tiny hands and feet. The child is entirely disregarded. There is no counseling, no care, no waiting and no discussion. Once a pregnancy is confirmed, it is off to termination.

Planned Parenthood takes specific advantage of women who are too young or misinformed to know better than to trust them with their well-being. Those who know the truth have a duty to speak out.

Other Former Workers Speak About Coercion, Lack of Help

Other former abortion facility employees have echoed Anthony Adair’s observations about the industry. Jewels Green, who underwent a coerced abortion at 17 and later became a counselor at Planned Parenthood, related that the “counselors” weren’t trained to help women thoroughly explore other options, even when the woman was truly ambivalent about abortion or felt she had no other choice:

Sure, we had a little notebook with the names and numbers of two local adoption agencies, but we were never trained or taught how the adoption process works so we could explain it to women. We had the phone number of the local WIC office, public assistance, etc., but again, knew nothing about the process should anyone ever ask for details. If a pregnant woman wanted to learn more about these other choices, the best the ‘options counselor’ could offer was a post-it note with a phone number hastily scribbled on it.

Others have described more blatant pressure and coercion. In Giving Sorrow Words: Women’s Stories of Grief After Abortion, Melinda Tankard Reist quotes Laurel Guymer, a former abortion clinic nurse in Australia who left her job after seeing women pressured to abort:

Women who were poor, unemployed, too young, too old, working in the sex industry, nor married, had no steady partner, or suffered any mental instability were reassured by the clinic staff and and society that it was best they have an abortion. It is clear that society fears a certain type of woman having a baby and I found that many of the doctors and nurses I met in the abortion clinic were not any different despite their proposed commitment to feminist principles. (p. 31)

Selling Abortions

Carol Everett, who once directed an abortion clinic in Texas, described abortion counselors as being trained to sell abortions:

I’m sure you’ve seen those numbers advertised that say “Problem Pregnancy,” “Abortion Information,” or “Pregnant?”. When a young girl finds out she is pregnant, she may not want an abortion, she may just want information.

But when she calls that number that’s paid for by abortion money, what kind of information do you think she is going to get? Remember, they sell abortions. They don’t sell keeping the baby. They don’t sell giving the baby up. They don’t sell delivering the baby in any form. They only sell abortions.

The counselor that the girl speaks to on the telephone is paid to be her friend. She is supposed to seduce her into a friendship of sorts to sell her the abortion. …

When the girl goes in for the abortion she pays up front, then goes into a room for counseling. They give her a 6 to 12 page form. This form is written by an abortion attorney to confuse the girl to death. It works and she doesn’t ask any questions. …

I cannot tell you one thing that happens in an abortion clinic that is not a lie.

Laurel Guymer, the former abortion clinic nurse quoted above, was reminded by co-workers that “this is a business” when she tried to help women who didn’t want to abort:

What if they said “no” when entering the operating room? In this instance I felt compelled to reassure them that they didn’t have to go through with it with it and walked them back to the change room. This was not welcomed by my colleagues at the clinic. I was reminded that this is a business and that any slowing in the production line costs money. … Their patronizing remarks that some women will never be 100 percent sure and that I should encourage them to go on and get the abortion over quickly, were not comforting. I could no longer participate. (Giving Sorrow Words, p. 170-171)

And former Planned Parenthood manager Sue Thayer wrote in The Washington Times about “the big lie” that the organization is about protecting women’s health, and how she lost her job after expressing concern about putting profits before safety:

Planned Parenthood is not about about helping women access health care. Instead, it is about making money. And abortion is its moneymaker. Telemed abortion is its mega moneymaker.

As Abby Johnson, who wrote the book Unplanned about her experiences as a Planned Parenthood clinic director and her exit from the abortion industry, has stated:

So many women today think of Planned Parenthood as a safe place to turn to … [but it is] a place where they will NOT hear all of their options.  A place where women will be coerced into thinking abortion is the best and only option for them.

Research Finds Coercion

Research suggests that observations about women being coerced into abortions are accurate. A survey of American and Russian women who had abortions, published in the Medical Science Monitor, found that:

  • 64 percent of American respondents reported they were pressured by others to abort;
  • More than 50 percent said they were uncertain or needed more time to make a decision;
  • 79 percent said they were not given any information about abortion alternatives;
  • 84 percent said they did not receive adequate counseling before abortion; and
  • 67 percent said they received no counseling before abortion.

As Green points out, the solution is to provide real support to pregnant girls and women:

“We need to do better. We need to provide real resources to pregnant mothers facing an unplanned pregnancy. The women and babies of our country deserve better.”

Learn More:
Wanted and Coercion: Key Factors in Understanding Women’s Mental Health and Abortion
Pushing Abortion by Exploiting Women’s Normal Emotions
It Was Never About “Choice” Anyway
“This Wasn’t Really Counseling At All:” Raising Questions About “Choice” and Pre-Abortion Counseling
Disclosure and Coercion: Concealing Relevant Information Is “An Act of Coercion”
Planned Parenthood Is Guilty of Negligent Screening
Empower Women, Not the State
Forced Abortion in America: A Special Report
Forced to Abort? Don’t Count on Clinics to Help

Get Help:
Pregnancy Help and Resources
Pregnancy Help Worldwide
Center Against Forced Abortions
Help & Healing After Abortion
Help After Abortion Worldwide

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