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Anti-abortion organisation in High Street

david murray | 27.03.2007 10:48 | Gender | Health | Oxford

A crissie-front organisation posing as a pregnancy counselling service has premises in Oxford High Street and advertises on Fox FM as offering unbiased counselling.

Fox FM carries advertisements for Oxford Life Pregnancy Care Service as offering non-judgemental counselling. It is clear from their website that this is a crissie anti-abortion organisation. It promotes an ethic (quoting from the section on abortion and fatherhood) that 'The trivialisation of sex and of fatherhood ... underpins abortion'.

I suggest that folks phone and e-m to Fox FM demanding that they cease to advertise this outfit.

This anti-feminist outfit is at 130 High Street.

david murray
- Homepage: http://www.livejournal.com/users/david_murray



27.03.2007 11:36

Their website is  http://www.preghelp.org.uk/

I've just been phoned back by Fox FM. I was told that the advert had been cleared by a company which checks out ads. The person assured that Fox FM accepts no responsibility for the advert and threatened me with legal action when I told him that I am publicising the fact that they are broadcasting a lie.

david murray


Hide the following 15 comments

Good work

27.03.2007 12:38

That's a good spot.

Don't be frightened off by legal threats - the radio station can only do you for libel if it is untrue. You might get a better response from the Advertising Standards Authority. If they are claiming in their adverts they are non-judgemental, but are clearly not from their website, there should be a case.

Visit: www.asa.org.uk

Norville B

anti pro

27.03.2007 21:43

how is informing women they have a choice anti feminist? I am anti abortion but also think women have the right to choose abortion - Women have a choice but they should be disgouraged and not use abortion as a contraceptive. shurley the orginisation are supporting women.


Pro-choice doesn't mean pro-abortion

29.03.2007 12:45

A few of these so-called "facts" appear to be BOLLOCKS...which is scary seeing as a woman who finds herself pregnant by mistake - and is looking for some stuff to make her mind up - may be swayed by untruths.

It's scary enough being pregnant and not knowing where to get support that's unbiased. Calling an abortion "murder", or "death of a baby" is dangerously misleading.

- Homepage: http://www.nusonline.co.uk/campaigns/womenscampaign/prochoice/272258.aspx

Oxford Life IS non-directive

05.04.2007 12:46

Oxford Life Care Service is one of over sixty counselling centres run by the national, non-denominational charity Life. I am a professional counsellor and have worked in the Care Centre for fifteen years. Having trained counsellors at Oxford and Cherwell Valley College I now train counsellors for Life. I have never once received a complaint from a client about our service, indeed many clients come back to us again for on-going counselling, practical help or pregnancy testing. We employ professional counsellors who adhere to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy ethical guidelines. ( http://www.bacp.co.uk/ethical_framework/). As a matter of policy, our counsellors will not suggest to a client what she should do in a crisis pregnancy, but will help her explore ALL the options available to her. We make it clear that WHATEVER her decision we will be there to support her afterwards too.

I guess you’re wondering how a pro-life counsellor can be unbiased and non-judgemental. Well most people would agree that a rapist could benefit from counselling but few people would expect their counsellor to be pro-rape. A counsellor offers unconditional positive regard to a client regardless of the client’s behaviour. We respect a person’s worth.

Our Education programme is different and separate from our Caring services. The education programme actively promotes Life’s views on moral and ethical issues.

Life is much more feminist than the pro-abortion lobby. We offer practical help and support to really enable women to have a choice. It provides accommodation at 34 houses around the country for girls in crisis pregnancies. It provides financial support and non-directive counselling including post abortion counselling. In fact the ONLY thing we don’t do is make referrals for abortion, we are not medically qualified to do so.

I am sure you would have been informed that the Fox Fm ad has been cleared by the (RACC) Radio Advertising Clearance Centre which is the body that vets radio ads. We welcome any enquiries about our services and would welcome anyone who wants to visit our Centre at 130 High Street, Oxford.

Nicki Richardson

Nicki Richardson

Nicki Richardson's 'impartiality'

05.04.2007 13:34

From the archive of the Oxford Times:

"Oxford's Life Pregnancy Care Centre managing director Nicki Richardson said: "We are concerned that this undermines relationships between parents and children. It would be far more important to teach family values.

"Parents may be angry if their daughter is pregnant, but it's got to be better than dying from this high-dose pill, or losing their fertility through a sexually transmitted disease."

That sounds like right-wing one-sided venom to me. How many deaths have resulted from taking the morning after pill? Despite alarming claims of deaths on pro-life sites, there aren't figures - most often references to a single death.

Does the centre keep a record of how many women choose abortion after using its service?
Because if we knew what percentage of women opted for termination, we would be in a much better position to judge how non-directive the centre really is.

Nicki wrote:

"I guess you’re wondering how a pro-life counsellor can be unbiased and non-judgemental. Well most people would agree that a rapist could benefit from counselling but few people would expect their counsellor to be pro-rape. A counsellor offers unconditional positive regard to a client regardless of the client’s behaviour. We respect a person’s worth."

Well, if the rapist is being counselled with a view to prevent him raping again, you aren't giving him a choice. So you wouldn't expect the counsellor to be pro-rape, because clearly that would affect the outcome of the intervention in a negative way.

However you wouldn't expect a counsellor who is working with a woman who needs to make a decision, which could include a termination, to be anti-abortion, because that too could have a negative effect on the outcome of the intervention.

So, its a strawman.

(RACC) Radio Advertising Clearance Centre may well have cleared the advert, but it is the Advertising Standards Authority ( http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/) to whom complaints should be addressed.

pro-real choice

Find out for yourself

05.04.2007 21:45

Instead of quoting me out of context I suggest you make an appointment to visit the Centre and ask me about our services yourself.

Nicki Richardson

Preggers Help

05.04.2007 23:45

Go here, kids...

Free contraceptive advice and supplies (e.g. free condoms) are available from your GP, the Alec Turnbull Clinic (Family Planning Clinic) - Old Blackbird Leys Health Centre, 63 Blackbird Leys Road, Blackbird Leys, Oxford OX4 6HL (01865 456666). Contraception is free of charge to everyone.

More info:



out of the duck's mouth

12.04.2007 01:11

It is entirely typical for someone who is correctly quoted in a way they dislike to whinge that it is 'out of contect' - of course it is out of context, otherwise it would not be a quote. What N Richardson has failed to do is to show that the quote distorts their views.

That the ad has been cleared by RACC reflects ill on that body.

As for 'professional guidlines' ... well, the ethics and objectivity of a fair number of shrinks are about in the region of palmists and astrologers.

Richardson's analogy between a pregnant woman considering abortion and a rapist must be considered (and especially from a psychodynamic standpoint) as symptomatic of her own - and her organisation's - bigotry.

Does she really think that anyone believes that an anti-abortion organisation will offer unbiased advice to a woman considering abortion? Even for a crissie, at the time of year when their credulity is maxed, that is tough going.

By the way, is the ad still running on Fox? Someone has suggested to me that it has been pulled. Has anyone heard it?


targeting students

16.04.2007 21:41

I'm sure most of you in Oxford are aware that Life's pernicious, misleading ad campaign is also to be found on most of the buses in and around Oxford. It is constructed in such a way as to deliberately target the young and vulnerable- offering 'support, accomodation & help after abortion' to give the impression that it is a neutral, even pro-choice organization and, the advertising being so pervasive, it will be the first number that many young women will call.

Recently a man from the charity was doing a survey outside Brookes University, asking questions such as: what do you know of the charity, where did you hear about it, what are your views on abortion, what newspaper do you read, etc. So yes, they are certainly targeting their advertising. See also the sickening student 'resources' section of their website:  http://www.lifeuk.org/learn.php

I'm not aware of any sustained effort to protest the presence of this organization in Oxford, but there is a real need for one now more than ever. If anyone else feels passionately about this, please email me.

eleanor g.
mail e-mail: e_leilani@hotmail.co.uk

anti "Life" networking

16.04.2007 21:56

...sorry, not quite up to speed with the newfangled internet posting malarkey. Anyone interested in protesting Life in Oxford please email me,  e_leilani@hotmail.co.uk

eleanor g.

eleanor g.
mail e-mail: e_leilani@hotmail.co.uk

Some points to consider

17.04.2007 21:39

I have just dropped in on this thread (Nicki Richardson mentioned it to me) and I am a tad confused about some of the criticisms and comments. I suspect, from the slightly heated tone of many of the contributions, that my remarks will not sway many. However, I feel interested enough to exercise my right of participation and make them anyway.

Point 1. Is the point of conflict that the pro-life lobby is trying to mislead the vulnerable by taking a pro-life position? Life makes no secret of its pro-life stance, and whatever your personal position on the debate (I am pro-choice, by the way) it seems unfair to demand that the opposite point of view should not be made. Naturally, enforcing silence on the opposition is a good way to prevent dispute, argument, conflict and disagreement, but it is not an effective way of forming opinions or carrying out debate. If we accept, then, that the pro-life lobby does have the right to have a position on the abortion question, and to express that opinion then…

Point 2. Why does there also appear to be an accusation that Life is trying to communicate to students? Hmmm. Fair cop, I guess. After all, if I was an organisation that was working in the area of unplanned pregnancy, I might well think that talking to students was a better strategy than, for example, leafleting the local old people’s home or nailing condoms to lampposts. I even took a look at the student pages of the Life website (following the link helpfully provided in the post). Whatever your position on their argument, it is blindingly obvious from the pages that this is in fact a pro-life organisation. I just don’t see that anyone would stumble across that website thinking they have found the cool, analytical impartiality of the Encyclopaedia Britannica…it makes it very clear that the information provided is from Life, and it takes a pro-life stance. The students, as part of their academic training, will probably have come across the idea that people on different sides of a debate present different points of view. They will see the Student Resources as being one half of an argument, clearly labelled as such. I’m guessing that if you were a young student who wanted to make up your own mind about abortion, you would probably take the time to look at more than one website.

Point 3. The debate on this thread must therefore be focussed on whether Life should be allowed to provide counselling services to women facing unplanned pregnancies, and, by extension, whether this counselling can really, truly be as impartial as it claims to be. The claim on one side seems to be that, because Life is pro-life, the counsellors will inevitably (possibly unconsciously) push the women towards a non-termination outcome. On the other side Nicki says, and this can surely be substantiated, that the Education and Caring arms of Life are run separately, and that while one has an agenda to promote pro-Life issues the other has a brief to provide non-directive assistance to women up to and beyond the point where they make their choice for or against a termination. So the real crunch point comes with the question, “Can a person who is personally pro-life ever offer impartial counselling as a professional service?” And the answer is ‘Yes’, because…

Point 4. There is a huge difference between Counselling (helping people explore the issues that confront them in a supportive atmosphere) and Advising (listening to people talking about their problems and telling them what their best choice is). I have been studying to become a counsellor for a number of years now, and I can honestly say that one of the hardest skills to learn is precisely how to avoid jumping in and giving advice based on your own assumptions and beliefs. But the whole point of counselling, and the reason why it helps people with their lives, is precisely that it gives them space to make their own decisions without any external pressures or people saying “You ought to…” From a personal point of view, having trained under Nicki Richardson (but not for Life) I can say that she is very clear that a counsellor has absolutely no place ethically to try and influence a client. The ethical framework that Life signs up to (BACP) is equally clear that the welfare of the client is the counsellor’s paramount concern.

So really, the question comes down to one about human nature. Do we believe that a professional person can hold sincere personal beliefs and still follow the ethics of their profession? And, from a personal point of view, I have to say that I genuinely do believe this. I believe, for example, that a Manchester City-supporting dentist who was given the task of fixing a Manchester United-supporting patient’s teeth would do so without deliberately causing unnecessary pain. I believe that a lawyer who disapproved of single mothers would still provide competent legal advice to any single mother who became a client. I believe that a Counsellor who is pro-Life would offer the same level of impartial and professional service to a woman who chooses an abortion as they would to anyone else. And, above all, I believe that any professional, from any profession, who felt unable to act impartially and fairly, would excuse themselves from the client as being unable to provide the service they are contracted to offer.

Final point: If anyone feels that the advertisements are misleading, then surely they should at least test the service first before reporting Life to the ASA. To say that the advertisement must be misleading simply because you don’t believe that Life Counsellors could possibly be capable of providing the service as advertised is a huge assumption. It’s not even hearsay – none of Life’s counselling clients has ever complained! Qualified Counsellors, like any other qualified professionals, are governed by their regulatory body, and adhere to the guidelines of that body in providing their services. No properly trained Counsellor – and I can vouch for the fact that Nicki’s training is of the highest standard – would ever deliberately try to influence a client’s choice, or offer advice. That is not the role of a Counsellor, as anyone who has ever been to counselling will tell you.

Mike G
mail e-mail: ulicatamka@yahoo.co.uk

Facts from a service user

20.04.2007 13:54

In the interests of fairness, balance and a factual debate, it would be helpful if a comment were added from a previous client of LIFE.

As a niave and slightly unworldly young pregnant woman, I sought out a service that would provide me with a listening ear. My pregnancy was not planned and consequently the people closest to me all had strong opinions about it. I didnt know when i first phoned LIFE to make an appointment or even after the first appointment, until somebody pointed it out to me, that LIFE has a pro-life ethos. I was made to feel comfortable and cared for whilst being able to talk freely about what I wanted and what was right for me. The support I received was exactly what I needed and couldnt get from my family and friends; caring, non-judgmental and completely uncoercive.

I think it is very unwise to label people as pro-life or pro-choice as life itself is rarely that black and white but if I had been aware of LIFE's ethos from that first phonecall I would have deprived myself of a service that unconditionally supported me when I desperately needed it. It would be sad and irresponsible to influence other people to dismiss a valuable source of help because of the negative perceptions of pro-life organisations that are perpetuated by this sort of scurrilous debate.

Carolyn Collett
mail e-mail: carolyncollett@ntlworld.com

more duckspeak

25.04.2007 13:23

The duplicity of Mike G’s argument well exposes the nature of his so-called ‘counselling’.
His claim that:

'…I believe, for example, that a Manchester City-supporting dentist who was given the task of fixing a Manchester United-supporting patient’s teeth would do so without deliberately causing unnecessary pain.'

is a valid analogy for an anti-abortion counsellor giving fair help to a pregnant woman is absurd. No-one would become a dentist because they were a supporter of Man Utd. Now just why would an anti-abortionist become a ‘counsellor’ ?

Here is a quote from Pregcare’s own website:

'The trivialisation of sex and of fatherhood that underpins abortion deepens the lack of self-value, self-awareness, and consideration for others that has already damaged such men.'

Are we really expected to believe that such an organisation is going to give unbiased help?

At least one Oxford student, Antonia Bance of Sommerville, has ‘mystery shopped’ the service offered and found it to be clearly directive.

Putting this into a wider context: The central issue here is women’s control of their own bodies. This is, quite reasonbly, opposed by patriarchal oppressive ideologies such as christianity and islam. Likewise, it should be an issue for anyone concerned liquidate oppressive structures.

david murray

Pro-choice works both ways

27.04.2007 13:05

So David Murray and Eleanor G feel that it is imperative that the LIFE counselling centre closes, do they? I am a former client of Nikki's, and I would like to point out the wider considerations that they have both overlooked during the course of their hysterical ranting.

Evidently they both believe that the sole purpose of this centre is to inveigle pregnant women into keeping unwanted babies. Nikki is trained not only as a counsellor but also as a teacher of counselling. The whole purpose of counselling is to be non-directive. Counselling is not advice. Whatever the standpoint of the organisation, LIFE is a damn sight more neutral than friends/partners/parents are ever going to be. As for Eleanor G's claim that their adverts are "misleading" - LIFE Pregancy Care?? Surely the clue is in the name. And does the fact that women choose to seek help from a pro-life organisation, rather than a pro-abortion one, not speak volumes?

I am sure that some will object to my use of the term pro-abortion, and insist that pro-choicers are not pro-abortion. Well, judging by the venom Eleanor G and David Murray (when did you have an abortion, by the way?) are spitting, I beg to differ. Many women choose to abort because they feel they have no choice, due to lack of support and practical difficulties, and consequently they suffer psychologically, as I did. LIFE offer that support and also counsel aborted women who have been traumatised by their experience. Correct me if I'm wrong, but surely the word "choice" implies the prescence of more than one option? It seems to me that the dreadful duo are pro-choice as long as that choice entails having an abortion.

kate e

pro-choice means pro-choice.

02.05.2007 10:08

To be pro-choice is not to be pro-abortion, any more than it is to be pro-pregnancy.

Pro-choice means what it says on the tin. It means the belief in giving women the counselling and support they need to arrive at the decision which is right for them. For some this will be continuing a pregnancy, for others it will be abortion. Simple as.

Women should have access to quality, impartial counselling, care and support when they need it. Many women end up making a wrong decision because of inadequate or inappropriate counselling- not only women who've had abortions, but also those who've continued with their pregnancies.

No one is suggesting that if Life closed, women should do without counselling and support. Life's counselling itself may be impartial, but women deserve counselling which is provided by a neutral organization, with no agenda of its own other than their wellbeing.

eleanor g.
mail e-mail: e_leilani@hotmail.co.uk

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