Doctors slam "completely unacceptable" RCOG vote
22 September 2017
Doctors are protesting by decision by Prof Regan - author of a pregnancy book who compared abortion to bunion removal - to hold a secret vote on decriminalisation.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is holding a secret vote on supporting abortion decriminalisation today.
Over 600 doctors have signed an open letter to Professor Lesley Regan, President of the RCOG, protesting her announcement last weekend to hold a vote of the General Council on supporting removing all restrictions to abortion. The RCOG represents 6,000 senior doctors in England specialising in childbirth and women's health, but only 33 members of the body's council will take part in the behind-closed-doors ballot.
The letter, entitled Don't Speak for Me, protests the extreme position being forced upon members of the RCOG, and says: "It is completely unacceptable that all members of the RCOG have not been given the opportunity to vote on this significant change in policy and you have refused to release the wording of the motion until after the General Council have voted on this motion."
Prof Regan caused outrage last week when she liked abortion to "getting your bunions sorted". The letter, signed by 650 medical professionals was delivered this morning, and highlights how out of step the decriminalisation agenda is with the public. "This move to introduce a radical abortion law is being promoted by a small group of campaigners with extreme views on abortion," it says. "Whilst they are entitled to hold the convictions they do we must not let them impose their agenda on the RCOG and risk severely damaging its reputation as a professional body."
Abortion up to birth
The angry doctors have spoken about the devastating consequences decriminalisation would have. Dr John Etherton, a GP and RCOG member from Lewes, East Sussex, told the Daily Mail that the move would "open up the gate for easy abortion up to birth". He added: "It sounds very benign to say let's decriminalise a procedure, it sounds acceptable, but the immediate implications are that it opens the gate for infanticide. That's very clear."
Feminist dogma - not medicine
The news was on the front page of today's Daily Mail, and columnist Dr Max Pemberton, who is in favour of legal abortion, and has carried them out himself, wrote that he objects to Prof Reagan's comments on abortion because "I feel the issue has been hijacked by a political movement founded on ideology and dogma." He also says "from a medical perspective, an abortion is not a procedure without risk. There is a range of possible complications, from infections through to life-endangering haemorrhage. Of course, most abortions are safe, but Professor Regan is making them appear quick, simple and harmless when they are not."
The vote of the RCOG council takes place today, but their press office told SPUC that the results are not likely to be released until tomorrow at the earliest.
News in brief: