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Doctors hit back ahead of "extreme" abortion vote at BMA

26 June 2017

 
Doctors: the motion would says "all legal protection for babies should be removed, possibly right through to birth."

Tomorrow, the British Medical Association will vote on whether the UK should decriminalise abortion - but thousands of doctors are in "open revolt" over the "extreme" proposals.

On Tuesday 27 June, the BMA will be debating a motion at the Annual Representative Meeting (ARM) calling for the complete removal of all legal restrictions and sanctions regarding abortion. f they vote in favour, the BMA will adopt this stance as its formal policy and lobby the Government for a change in the law.

War against children in the womb

The BMA represents two-thirds of Britain’s doctors and delegates have been instructed to read a 52-page discussion paper which claims to be neutral, although it has been jointly prepared by several doctors in favour of decriminalising abortion, including Professor Savage and Professor Emily Jackson, a radically pro-choice medical lawyer. Ahead of the debate, SPUC has urged medics to defend babies in the womb. Antonia Tully, SPUC's Campaigns Director said:  "It is preposterous to suggest that the report under consideration could be regarded as balanced and fair. It certainly offers nothing which could be regarded as neutrality on unborn babies. It’s more like a declaration of war on children in the womb."

"Open revolt"

Ahead of the vote, over a thousand doctors and medical students (1200 this morning) have signed an open letter opposing the motion. According to the Daily Mail, doctors are in "open revolt" over the proposal, which they fear "would severely damage the reputation of both the BMA and the medical profession." The letter goes on to say: "it would be unacceptable for the organisation that represents us to support the radical position (supported by only a small minority of women) that all legal protection for babies should be removed, possibly right through to birth...We, the undersigned, wish to state publicly that motion 50 at the 2017 BMA Annual Representative Meeting, which seeks to remove abortion from its current legal framework, does not represent us or our views, and we call on all present at this meeting to reject it"

"Outrageous" proposal

Some senior physicians have even threatened to quit the BMA if the motion passes - Professor John Campbell, an expert in general practice and primary care at the University of Exeter who has signed the letter, said - "It would be outrageous if this was passed and would lead to many doctors reviewing their position in respect to membership of the BMA. I would do that and I have been a member for 35 years."

The letter points out that the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) saw a major media and public backlash following their announcement that they would be supporting a campaign to introduce abortion up to birth, for any reason. It emerged that the RCM's Chief Executive, Cathy Warwick, was also a trustee of BPAS. Prof Warwick has now resigned

"Extreme" views

As the doctors signing the letter tell the BMA, the motion "is being promoted by a small group of campaigners with extreme views on abortion." Baroness Hollins, a professor of psychiatry and former BMA president, said: 'Aborting a baby after 24 weeks, the age of medically agreed viability, is an extreme move towards involuntary euthanasia.'

This move by the BMA is clearly part of a wider campaign to remove all restrictions to abortion; MPs have made it clear that they plan to promote the agenda in this parliament.

Antonia Tully, , said: "The pro-abortion lobby are pushing for decriminalisation of abortion in Britain and in Northern Ireland because they don't care about the impact of abortion on women or refuse to look at what that impact is. We really do care that women who have an abortion experience mental health problems 30% more often compared with women who give birth. It matters to us that a study has shown that the risk of suicide is approximately six times greater after an abortion than after childbirth."

The issue is also being debated in the media - this video shows Catholic journalist and broadcaster Caroline Farrow defending life on BBC Sunday Morning Live.

 

News in brief:

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Comments (1)
  • Rita Joseph

    26 June 2017, 9:38pm

    It should not be forgotten that post -World War II in the pain-filled honesty of the immediate aftermath of Nazi atrocities, the international community, through the United Nations, the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals and the World Medical Association, issued a clear condemnation of abortion as "a crime against humanity".

    The medical profession acknowledged that doctors had criminally violated the rights of the unborn children they aborted:

    "…the greatest crime being co-operation in… murder, suicide and abortion"
    British Medical Association UN submission War Crimes and Medicine (June 1947)

    "I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception, even under threat; I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity."
    World Medical Association’s Declaration of Geneva (1948)

    "A doctor must always bear in mind the importance of preserving human life from the time of conception until death".
    International Code of Medical Ethics (1949)

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