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BPAS executive behind nursing college move to back decriminalising abortion

26 March 2018

 
Mandy Myers of BPAS has been advising the RCN on abortion policy.

Is another Royal College about to back decriminalisation?

The Mail on Sunday has revealed that a senior BPAS executive has been advising the Royal College of Nursing on its abortion policy.

After a consultation with its members, the RCN is expected to back BPAS' We Trust Women campaign, calling for abortion to be taken out of the criminal law. It emerged that a key adviser behind the expected move is Mandy Myers, director of operations at BPAS.

BPAS grandee

Ms Myers is on the steering committee of the college's Women's Health Forum, which she joined "to get more involved in driving the agenda in women's health at the RCN".

In 2016, she initiated a debate at the RCN's annual conference on "the merits of decriminalising abortion", arguing the current law was 'patronising' to women. The matter was subsequently taken up by the college's executive council, which last December highlighted "work on the decriminalisation of abortion" as an 'operational priority' for 2018. In February, it asked its members whether or not they approved of decriminalisation in an online survey which has just closed.

Falling into line 

If, as expected, the RCN backs decriminalisation, it will join the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the British Medical Association in doing so. The decision for the Royal College of Midwives to join the campaign was taken by its President Prof Cathy Warwick, who was also Chairman of Trustees at BPAS. 

However, Ann Furedi, head of BPAS, dismissed it as "fanciful" to suggest that the abortion provider could swing opinion at the Royal Colleges. 

Not in my name

Many nurses have rejected the proposal, with more than 370 signing the Not in My Name petition. They have written to Janet Davies, the Chief Executive of the RCN, protesting: protesting: "This move is being promoted by a small group of campaigners with extreme views on abortion. Whilst they are entitled to hold the convictions they do, we must not let them impose their agenda on the RCN and risk severely damaging its reputation."

If abortion is decriminalised, unborn children will be stripped of any remaining legal protection from abortion. SPUC is running a major petition calling on the Prime Minister not to give any parliamentary support to moves to decriminalise abortion.

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