Abortion group Marie Stopes International has suspended some types of abortion across all its English facilities after a health watchdog’s investigation uncovered “patient safety” concerns.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) raised issues over Marie Stopes’ “corporate and clinical governance arrangements and patient safety protocols in specific areas” following inspections.
As a result, all abortions for “under-18s and vulnerable groups of women”, as well as all abortions under general anaesthetic or conscious sedation were suspended.
The watchdog raised concerns in areas including “consent and safeguarding and the lack of assurance in relation to training and competence in conscious sedation and general anaesthesia”.
It also said: “While these restrictions respond to the most serious concerns CQC has raised, CQC will continue to monitor the situation very closely and will not hesitate to take regulatory action, if necessary.”
CQC, the independent regulator of health and social care in England, said it would produce a report with more detail in the autumn. It is currently undertaking a programme of inspections of abortion facilities, which is due to end in September.
Marie Stopes said it was working urgently with CQC to “regain full assurance within a few days”.
NHS England is diverting women to other abortion groups at present, with CQC saying the move will affect around 250 women per week.
Marie Stopes International produced the UK’s first abortion TV advert in 2010.
Michaela Aston, from the pro-life charity Life, said at the time that the advert suggested abortion was just “another consumer choice”.
Figures released in May this year showed that there were 1,253 more abortions in 2015 than in the previous year.
The figures, for residents of England and Wales, reveal that there were 185,824 abortions last year, up from 184,571.
They also show that more than 200 babies were aborted after the 24-week limit, most of these on the grounds of disability.
In 2014, The Christian Institute’s Choose Life series told the story of Lynn Coles, who now works as an Abortion Recovery Facilitator.
She had an abortion when she was just 18 years old, with a doctor persuading her to do so by saying that “the baby wasn’t really a baby” just a “blob of cells”.