By Simon Caldwell THE GOVERNMENT has rejected a bid by a pro-life group for cash to support pregnancy and post-abortion counselling services and a network of hostels for pregnant women in difficulty.
Life asked the Department of Health for £285,000 over the next three years, from a £21m budget put aside for bids made under Section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968 — but discovered last week that it would receive nothing.
However, of the Section 64 grants awarded last year, Brook Advisory Centres received £126,000 and the Family Planning Association was given £160,000.
A total of £520,000 was also awarded to Aids agencies, including £150,000 to the London Lighthouse, while £150,000 went to the Terrence Higgins Trust; £45,000 to the Sex Education Forum; £107,000 to the Women's Aid Federation, and £4,000 to Lesbian and Gay Bereavement.
Prof Jack Scarisbrick, the national chairman of Life, said: "We are very angry. Life is helping thousands of women and children every year, and many of them from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged. Our national hotline and pregnancy and post-abortion counselling, and our 36 houses are already saving the NHS and social services huge sums. We have been asking for short-term help to expand care work which would quickly more than repay the outlay. Nearly three years of pleading has been brushed aside."
He added: "It is outrageous that hundreds of millions of taxpayers' pounds are poured every year into abortion, contraception and politically correct causes like lesbian and gay 'rights', Aids, alcoholism and women's societies, but not a penny is available to the pro-life cause. We probably never stood a chance. And things were no better when the Conservatives were in power. Then, as now, there was always plenty of money for killing, condoms and for corrupting the young with pagan sex 'education', but none for promoting the Gospel of Life."
The organisation first asked for government cash in October 1997 when it presented a 150,000-signature petition to Prime Minister Tony Blair, seeking help in expanding its pregnancy care service and housing programme.
Life then asked for £2m a year, which, according to Prof Scarisbrick, amounts to about a 30th of the amount the NHS spends on abortion each year.
Editorial Comment — p9