Britain's abortion debate returned to the forefront after a Conservative MP pushed for a new rules on the advice that can be offered to women seeking abortions, charging certain clinics have a financial motive to encourage them.
In the UK, women currently seeking an abortion need the consent of two doctors, which can be obtained either through an NHS clinic, GP surgery, or at a private provider, like Marie Stopes or the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.
Before proceeding to book a woman for a termination, staff have a duty to provide counselling, which according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' guidelines should be impartial, objective and unbiased.
MP Nadine Dorries' amendment would remove private providers such as Marie Stopes and BPAS from that duty, instead calling for the NHS, GPs and other independent bodies to provide "independent information, advice and counselling services for women requesting termination of pregnancy" while defining as "independent" an organisation that does not itself provide abortions.
The proposition contains very few details on who those independent bodies could be, and abortion rights activists fear they could be religious groups opposed to abortion who could try to dissuade women.
The Health and Social Care Bill is expected to be discussed by MPs in the Commons next Tuesday and Wednesday, and Speaker John Bercow will decide whether or not to call Dorries' amendment.
In an article for the Daily Mail, Dorries says she wants women "to be offered genuinely independent counselling, so they can at least consider their options and not necessarily feel, at a time when they may be desperately vulnerable, that a termination is the only option."
"Under present legislation, doctors or pregnancy advisory services have no duty to offer professional, impartial help to women considering an abortion," the MP said.
"Moreover, most counselling is offered by the big abortion providers themselves, like the British Pregnancy Advisory Service or the Marie Stopes clinics, which are paid millions by the NHS to carry out terminations and so profit from the process."
Dorries insisted she was not motivated by religious belief.
"No organisation which is paid for carrying out abortions and no organisation that thinks it's appropriate to bring God into a counselling session with a vulnerable woman, should be allowed anywhere near the counselling room," she said.
As the row surrounding Dorries' proposal escalated, Downing Street was forced to intervene, with Prime Minister David Cameron's office saying that while he was sympathetic to Dorries' view that women should be offered independent advice, he was also concerned her planned amendments to the Health Bill could stop providers like Marie Stopes from giving counselling.
The Department of Health also issued a statement saying, "The discussions currently under way do not represent any moral shift in the government's approach to abortion as an issue, and there are no changes to the Abortion Act involved.
"Instead the concern is to ensure that women, in what is an extremely difficult and often traumatic situation, have access to information and counselling that best meets their needs. We will continue to discuss this with all involved in the debate. We plan to consult widely on these proposals later this year."
Sources now say that in order to prevent the amendments from passing, the health minister and other senior members of the government will vote against the amendment and advise other MPs to follow suit, while Labour is also rumoured to have adopted a similar position.
While Downing Street said the prime minister may not be there for the debate, but would vote against the amendment if he manages to attend, it also stressed there would be no pressure on Conservative MPs to vote in a particular way.
While the proposed amendment has revived the debate, concerns relating to the quality of the counselling are valid and efforts should be focusing on improving the services that are on offer and making sure that the strict guidelines are followed through rather than turning the issue into an abortion confrontation.