UK

Row Breaks Out As Tampon Tax Beneficiary Revealed As Anti-Abortion Group

'If you were neutral, it wouldn't be a problem...'

03/04/2017 12:51 BST | Updated 03/04/2017 13:09 BST

An anti-abortion group’s award of £250,000 from money raised through the tampon tax has been criticised by campaigners.

Funds gained from a five percent tax on women’s sanitary products has been given to dozens of beneficiaries, including anti-abortion group Life.

Labour MP Stella Creasy said funding groups opposed to free choice “must be stopped”. Sophie Walker of the Women’s Equality Party described Life’s award as a “shock”.

Nancy R. Cohen via Getty Images
The five percent sales tax on tampons raised £12m for UK charities

The row came to the head during a fiery exchange on Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday.

Representatives of both Life and abortion provider British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) sparred over allegations of biased counselling and advice.

Anne Scanlan from Life battled accusations from Ann Furedi of BPAS during the segment. Read a full transcript, below, and listen to a clip, above.

The Huffington Post UK could not find the exact quotes mentioned by Furedi on Life’s website later on Monday.

A Life spokesperson confirmed a sentence alluding to a death sentence for an unborn child was removed from its site after the broadcast.

“We had a look and decided to remove that line,” they told HuffPost UK.

But a section on rape in a post about ‘hard cases’ of abortion is still published on its website.

It reads: “We believe that the right to life of a child applies regardless of the circumstances of that child’s conception. As difficult as it may be, Life cannot see abortion as the right response.

“A victim of rape has not chosen to be pregnant; but neither has the unborn child chosen to come into the world in such tragic circumstances.”

Some £12m worth of funding has been raised through the tax, benefiting around 70 UK charities.

Creasy was among those angered by the awards to such organisations.

Labour’s shadow MP for women and equalities Paula Sherriff said it was “bitterly ironic” to many women to be taxed for their 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”.

Life said it planned to use the money to develop its services, including “housing, practical help, non-directive counselling and life-skills training for pregnant and homeless women”.

The Department Culture Media and Sport said the money for Life was to fund a specific west London project to help homeless and other at-risk women, the BBC reported.

DCMS released the full list of beneficiaries on its website.