Why life should not have an advisory role

It won’t surprise anyone to hear I am completely opposed to the views that Life subscribe too; that abortion is wrong in all circumstances. But this post isn’t about those views. This group has been chosen to advise government policy on sexual health; over BPAS and to the exclusion of all LGBT groups.

We elect politicians on the basis of their policy and views. I often disagree with those views, and will campaign against them, appealing to those politicians and their constituents. I will join lobby groups to help put pressure on politicians – lobby groups can be useful.

But I am absolutely opposed to lobby groups sitting on advisory boards. It is politicians’ job to have opinions. Advisory boards are there to provide expertise. BPAS and Marie Stopes are not lobby groups. They provide advice to women on all elements of sexual health, and access to all legal services. They are on the front line of service provision, and can advise on the facts of public health. They will continue in exactly the same role whatever government policy is. People can visit them and know they will be listened to and given tailored advice.

Life on the other hand are a campaigning organisation. Yes, they provide advice. But you know that rather than listening to your personal circumstances, they have a stated aim of reducing the number of abortions. If abortion was made illegal, Life would no longer have a reason for existing. They have every right to lobby MPs and policy makers. But they should not have a policy role.

The role of the advisory board is to provide government with a consensus of the facts and actualities of an issue. Including Life means that the board will not be able to provide a consensus for policy makers to draw opinions from. This is not including another view (a view already well represented in parliament), this is in effect side-lining all advice, so that government can make legislation purely based on their own ideology, ignoring the facts of real life.

And from a government that is continually showing it’s misogynistic views of women, refusing to listen to any neutral voice should be something all women are very worried and angry about.


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