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Pregnancy Consultation Services

Volume 955: debated on Tuesday 24 October 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services under what powers he secured the investigation and closure of Pregnancy Consultation Services, as recorded in the report of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration C.465/77, dated 8th September 1978.

The establishment of a register of fee-charging pregnancy advice bureaux was one of the recommendations in the Third Special Report of the Select Committee on the Abortion (Amendment) Bill. The Government announced in October 1975—[Vol. 898. c. 244–54]—that they accepted in principle all the recommendations in that report, and accordingly fee-charging pregnancy advice bureaux were invited to apply for registration, which would be given only after thorough investigation of their business arrangements, premises and facilities.

As a result of such an investigation by my Department, my right hon. Friend decided that he could not include Pregnancy Consultation Services on the register of approved bureaux, which became operative from 14th March 1977. Accordingly, all nursing homes approved by him under section 1(3) of the Abortion Act 1967 were informed that they should not accept patients referred directly or indirectly from that bureau. I understand that Pregnancy Consultation Services subsequently ceased to operate.

As the hon. Member will know, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration found no evidence of maladministration in the way in which my Department handled this case.