By A Parliamentary Correspondent ABILL which seeks to pro vide free contraceptives to people who cannot afford them will be introduced in the House of Commons on January 17. It wants powers for local authorities to give birth control advice to any woman who wants it—and not only to women who seek it for health reasons as at present.
Widespread support is expected for the Bill, which has been drawn up by Mr. Edwin Brooks, Labour M.P. for Bebbington, Cheshire.
Secretary to the English Hierachy. Bishop Worlock, of Portsmouth, said this week he had not seen the proposals and therefore "was unable to comment at this stage." The Bill seeks to amend Part Three of the National Health Service Act 1946 to enable local authorities to offer birth control help on social, as distinct from purely medical, grounds. It could empower them to give advice and treatment on contraception.
The Minister of Health, Mr. KennethRobinson, is known to be very anxious for the provisions in the Bill to be put into effect.
A Ministry circular to local councils urges them to give free advice on birth control to women who seek it for health reasons. It says the Minister is anxious to improve general education on the subject and asks for suggestions.
"Planned parenthood strengthens family life. Lack of planning, often due to ignorance of effective methods of contraception, may lead to marital disharmony, ill health, social breakdown and — in some cases—even to criminal abortion and death."
It urges them to review their present arrangements for family planning and asks them to co-operate fully with the voluntary organisations in this field.