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         May 2017


Government's grant to Life creates uproar

Women's groups and pro-abortion groups have responded angrily to the £250,000 grant that the government has awarded to Life Charity to help assist in their work with vulnerable pregnant women. 

A spokeswoman from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said, "Life has been awarded £250,000 to fund a specific project in West London that will help homeless and other at risk women who are pregnant by providing housing, counselling and life skills training." (As quoted by SPUC)

The £250,000 comes from a £12m Tampon Tax Fund (VAT levied on women's sanitary products) which is being distributed in the form of grants to 70 women's charities and organisations.

News of this grant to Life Charity created a media storm with protest articles such as “Outrage after tampon tax money is used to fund anti-abortion charity” and “Tampon tax VAT money given to anti-abortion Life charity in 'scandal'.”

BPAS representative Clare Murphy commented saying, "This is a tax on women's periods being used to fund an organisation that is opposing women's autonomy over their own bodies and pregnancies. They are not interested in women, they are interested in unborn babies, and giving priority to unborn babies over women’s needs is absolutely shocking." Paula Sherriff, Labour MP, has said, "It will seem bitterly ironic to many women if we are taxed for our biology, only for the government to hand over that money to organisations that don't even believe we should have control over our own bodies, especially when so many are left without basic sanitary protection." (As quoted by SPUC)

Radio 5 hosted a debate between Life's Clare Watson and MP Paula Sheriff where Sheriff insisted that anti-abortion organisations should not be awarded government funding. She also failed to respond to Miss Watson's point that over £100 million pounds of taxpayers' money is annually spent on abortion provision compared to this one-off grant of £250,000 that Life has been awarded.

In an article in Metro, Life Charity commented saying, "It is regrettable some sections of the media have carried the story in the way they have. It is unquestionable Life has provided support for women for four decades. Last year we housed 187 women who were homeless and pregnant. Now are they saying we shouldn’t do that kind of work? If women choose to continue their pregnancies should we not house them? It seems strange that charities that say they have the interests of women at heart would lobby against us." (As quoted by Metro)

SPUC has also spoken up defending the government’s decision with Chief Executive John Smeaton saying,  "The reaction to this grant makes it abundantly clear that these so-called 'pro-choice' groups do not care about women. They are willing to oppose money being given to support vulnerable pregnant women, solely because that support is being offered by a group that doesn't believe abortion is the best answer to a crisis pregnancy. We hope that the Government does not give in to this bullying by the abortion lobby, and acts to protect and support mothers and their children." (As quoted by SPUC)