Midwives Chiefs call the police as mum and 17 month old toddler deliver 10,000 name petition
14 February 2017
Police question midwife Mary Doogan, while mum Claudia Linton stands by with daughter Eloise.
The leaders of the country's midwives called the police as a mum and her 17-month-old daughter delivered a 10,000 signature petition to their London HQ.
SPUC supporters were earlier told they were trespassing on the steps of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) offices in Marylebone when they rang the front doorbell.
As uniformed officers descended on the scene John Smeaton, the astonished chief executive of SPUC said:
"This is quite a disproportionate situation. All we were trying to do was peacefully and politely present our petition which has the support of thousands of our members and which objects to the RCM’s leadership deciding to support abortion.
"It seems incredible that police time was wasted over such an innocuous matter and demonstrates how sensitive to criticism the RCM is over this matter."
Extreme abortion campaign
The petition was launched last year after Professor Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, who is also chair of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, sparked outrage last year when she unilaterally signed up the RCM’s 30,000 midwives to an extreme abortion campaign.
Her controversial initiative resulted in condemnation from many RCM members, and SPUC launched a petition calling for her resignation.
Amid mounting criticism over her support for the full decriminalisation of abortion on demand up to birth, Prof Warwick announced in January that she plans to retire from her RCM post at the end of August 2017.
Abortion and midwives don't go together
The SPUC petition continued, and was presented to the RCM today by Mrs Linton and her daughter Eloise as a powerful message to the next chief executive. But as she did so the police arrived after being called by the RCM.
After some time talking with the SPUC supporters, no action was taken by police and the petition was handed over.
Later, Mrs Linton said: "More than 10,000 have signed up for the campaign which has a plain and simple message - midwives and abortion don't go together."
Mrs Linton presenting the petition with her children, and Glasgow midwife Mary Doogan.
Also present at the handover of the postcards was Mary Doogan, a midwife from Glasgow, who was also quizzed by the police. Following a lengthy legal battle (supported by SPUC), Mrs Doogan and her colleague Connie Wood lost their jobs because of their conscientious objection to overseeing abortions. Mrs Doogan said that there is clearly a conflict of interest involved in Prof Warwick's twin roles and added:
"As leader of the country's midwives, Professor Warwick should be upholding the primary purpose of midwives which is the collective care of both mother and pre-born baby. I hope her successor returns to this long-held, primary approach."
SPUC's Antonia Tully, who led the campaign, said: "This is a powerful message from a large number of people from throughout the country. They have signed more than 10,000 postcards endorsing the message that midwives and abortions do not go together.
"Many people, including those who signed these cards, felt that Prof Warwick should resign from the RCM.
"While she has since announced her retirement we are presenting our petition to send out a very strong message to the Royal College that midwives should not be used to promote abortion.
"We fervently hope the incoming Chief Executive who replaces her will appreciate that the role of midwives is about bringing new life into the world - not ending lives before they are born."