Monday 5 September 2011

The only incentives in life are financial

The myth that underlies The Dorries/Field amendment on abortion is that abortion providers have a financial incentive to promote abortion and therefore their employees do not and cannot provide independent, non-directive support for women trying to make a decision about whether or not to continue a pregnancy.

I’m not a psychologist, but I’m sure if I had more time I could lay my hands on copious literature which finds that people are motivated and incentivised to act by a range of different factors, only one of which is money. I would take an amateurish stab at things such as shared values within your community or amongst your peers and family, strongly held philosophical or religious belief, and more. 

In my experience, for example, those working for abortion providers in any capacity are very strongly motivated by a profound and deeply held belief in a woman’s right to choose the outcome of her own pregnancy and a horror of the known consequences of witholding safe, legal, free and accessible abortion as a real option for women. 

Surely the biggest incentive people have is their own personal belief, and that’s why it’s hard to fathom that during this whole debate on ‘independent counselling’ not a single organisation that was founded on an anti-abortion principles, and staffed by people who oppose abortion, has felt the need to explain how their deeply held belief that abortion is wrong does not provide them with an incentive to dissuade or obstruct women from accessing abortion.

Even in this materialistic world we all inhabit, I still think that strongly held beliefs trump money for most people. So, once again I ask you... all of you who have a strongly held belief – whether grounded in a faith position or otherwise – that every abortion is intrinsically wrong, sinful, damaging and tragic, how can you NOT want to dissuade women from having an abortion. 

More discussion of this is here and here


  1. ...You don't need the literature. Evidence of people doing good things without a financial reward can be

  2. Exactly. Businesses are motivated by money - especially public companies, who have a duty to act in the best interests of their shareholders, ie to make them money.

    But not-for-profit organisations have at their very core a wide range of motivations, none of which are about investor or director return, as there is none.

    I find the whole argument baffling - but then, I feel that way about most of the stuff Dorries comes out with.