Mr Phillip Whitehead: asked the Prime Minister what plans he has for an official meeting with Mr. Bratteli, Prime Minister of Norway.
Mr Phillip Whitehead: I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time. The Bill is a short one, and it is an amending Measure, but I would not seek to disguise from the House the fact that it touches upon great issues—issues of human relationships, parenthood and family life. It seeks to enlarge one of the most enlightened Measures of the last Parliament—Mr. Edwin Brooks's National Health Service...
Mr Phillip Whitehead: If I did, I was somewhat exaggerating the need and desire for this operation. Nearly 90 per cent. of the men had been married for over seven years and over 90 per cent. of them were more than 30 years old. Their predominant reason for applying had been a distaste for the daily round of contraceptive precautions and a desire to spare their wives either operations or the risk of further...
Mr Phillip Whitehead: I am very grateful to the hon. Member for telling me. I am sure she died all the happier for having an illustrious grandson who comes to the House to say that he sees no reason whatsoever for family planning services being available for those who have 16 or 17 children—
Mr Phillip Whitehead: It is not a magic number at all. I could mention cases of parents of 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 children, and the operation has been refused. I mentioned five children simply because it seemed to me that at that number or beyond it is quite reasonable, in many cases, for people to have this operation if they want it and to be able to demand it on the National Health Service.
Mr Phillip Whitehead: I cannot express too strongly that it is the parents who should decide—and if the parents decide that their seventh child will be the chairman of the Conservative constituency association, of course they will go flat out to have him.
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Of course I would accept that point, and I am grateful for that intervention by the hon. Gentleman who is one of the sponsors of the Bill. There is a correlation between the size of family and adequate care, varying directly with the number of children. I did not for a moment expect that the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) would agree. He, no doubt, agrees that there should be families of...
Mr Phillip Whitehead: As always, the hon. Member's intervention speaks for itself. The operation will help many families to enjoy each other to the full in the plenitude of their resources. What is true of the family unit is true, too, for the society of which it forms part and to which that society in turn brings its burdens and its blessings. The family unit, the micro-unit, in its environment is matched by the...
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Does the hon. Gentleman accept that these organisations have waiting lists of about 10,000 at the moment?
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Will my hon. Friend give way?
Mr Phillip Whitehead: On a point of order. Is it not due custom of the House that, when a reference has been made to the proponents of a Measure in this way, and they have been described as those who have been lobbying for abortion—which I certainly never have, and I am the principal proponent of the Bill—it would be right and proper to give way when I rise to correct that interpretation?
Mr Phillip Whitehead: I should like to point out to my hon. Friend that the question of who supports or who opposes this Measure and the motives of both parties concerned do not necessarily detract from the intrinsic merits of this Measure. I should like further to inform him that my own views on abortion to some extent mirror his reservations at the time of the passing of the Act, but that he does no service at...
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Yes you are.
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Since my hon. Friend exercises his powers of scrutiny so carefully, could he tell the House if, when the Measure which the Bill seeks to amend was given its Second Reading—he has accepted part authority for that Bill—he devoted equal time to the possible side effects of things like the inter-uterine device and other things which apply purely to women that he is now giving to the possible...
Mr Phillip Whitehead: There is a simple explanation for the reason why some people, having undergone a vasectomy, report an increase of libido and that is that sexual relations may have been inhibited between the marriage partners because of the fear of pregnancy before the operation. It is therefore conceivable that an increase of libido would be recorded.
Mr Phillip Whitehead: I admire the hon. Gentleman's populism, but—
Mr Phillip Whitehead: The hon. Gentleman's concern that the ordinary man should be considered and represented. However, the overwhelming majority of people who voluntarily request this operation to be carried out have heard about it by word of mouth. There is no question of Government brainwashing, much less Government compulsion.
Mr Phillip Whitehead: asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the timetable for Lord Pearce's commission of inquiry into the acceptability of proposals for a settlement with the illegal régime in Rhodesia.
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Would the right hon. Gentleman convey to the Pearce Commission the view that no test of acceptability will be taken as covering the whole of Rhodesian opinion unless all detainees are seen by the Pearce Commission and not merely those who may now be seen? Would he accept that "all shades" of Rhodesian opinion should include those recently detained by the illegal Smith rôgime, including Mr. Todd?
Mr Phillip Whitehead: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that not the least disturbing feature about this scandalous case is the grave concern about Mr. Jacobsen's state of health? Will he use the good offices of the British High Commission in South Africa to ensure that Mr. Jacobsen is given proper medical care?