Sexual health doctors back decriminalisation and home abortions
23 November 2017
Abortion ideologues in no way represent good medicine.
Are criminal sanctions really the reason medics don't want to train to do late term abortions?
The Council of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) has today voted in favour of supporting "abortion law reform."
The Council of the Faculty, which claims to represent 15,000 doctors and nurses working in sexual and reproductive health, voted today on a new position statement supporting decriminalisation and the taking of the second pill of a medication abortion at home. However, the Faculty was quoted in the Times hours ahead of the vote in support of these changes, making it clear that the vote was a foregone conclusion.
Lack of late term abortion doctors
Dr Asha Kasliwal, FSRH President, said that the country faces a "crisis point in abortion provision", saying that young medics were being put off training to perform abortions because of the threat of criminal sanctions. Figures presented at a Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists meeting in March showed only one person had been trained for abortions between 14 and 19 weeks’ gestation since 2009, and none had been trained to perform abortions beyond 20 weeks.
In a statement welcoming the FSRH's support for decriminalisation, its Vice-President Dr Tracey Masters said: "It is our duty, as healthcare professionals, to provide the best possible care and provide unbiased, evidence-based information for women so they can make the best decisions about their own bodies and their own reproductive health. The best possible care means ensuring that healthcare professionals are appropriately trained and that they can work without fear of criminal sanctions."
However, SPUC's Dr Anthony McCarthy said that this amounts to abortion providers trying to place themselves outside the reach of the law. "Members of this body are likely deeply complicit themselves in the degrading act that is abortion: an act which morally harms and numbs those who carry it out, as well as damaging the expectant mother and her unborn baby", he said. "Such persons and the ideology they promote in no way represent good medicine nor the thousands of medics who seek to support life and health in ways truly respectful of every human being.
"Our Parliamentarians must not let this blatant self-interest influence public policy...Those with most to gain from such a law change should be the last to be allowed to influence the debate."
Taking the trauma home
Dr Masters also welcomed the decision to promote home abortions, hoping that England and Wales will follow the "exemplary lead of Scottish Ministers in granting approval for the second stage of early medical abortion treatment to be taken in a patient’s home."
Clare Bremner, a counsellor for the Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline in Scotland, responded by saying: ""With yet another organisation supporting decriminalisation of abortion and home abortions, I can't help wondering if I am living in a parallel universe. Do all these bodies really not see increased dangers for women in these moves? The push for home abortions takes no account of the many women traumatised by abortion - if they find it distressing to be triggered by going past the abortion clinic or hospital, how are they affected by the site being their own home?
"In my universe, the one shared by the many harmed by abortion, I long for the day the healthcare professional organisations turn their attention to ensuring support for women in crisis pregnancies, and 'evidenced-based information' including for those who regret taking the first tablet and want it reversed. The latter are currently too often misled and unsupported."
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