New clause 13 - Provision of information relating to adoption

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:30 pm ar 17 Ionawr 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State, Department of Health 4:30, 17 Ionawr 2002

I shall say only briefly that the new clause is extremely broadly drafted, to the extent that were we to go ahead with it we could be in a position, for example, where the providers of day care nurseries should display information to working mothers who leave their child in the crèche about adoption being another option. I do not believe that is what the hon. Gentleman is suggesting, nor that expectant mothers arriving at a maternity clinic should see information encouraging them to consider adoption even though they have expressed no such wish and are looking forward to the birth of their child.

I accept that the hon. Gentleman said that that is not his intention. I hope that I can reassure him about the extent of advice that is necessary. If an expectant mother raises the issue of adoption or expresses doubts about motherhood, she should receive advice from her

GP—this relates to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster and Wyre—midwife, or pregnancy adviser. Professionals are provided with information by their Royal Colleges and others on sources of advice and counselling on an expectant mother's options: to keep the baby, adoption, abortion, and future contraceptive needs. Where a woman is considering abortion, successive Governments have always recognised the importance of objective counselling.

All UK health authorities and private sector clinics carrying out abortions have guidance on the provision of counselling services, which makes it clear that counselling should include the provision of advice and information about all possible alternatives to termination, including adoption.