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SPUC welcomes doctors' refusal to do abortions but warns on threats to conscience

16 April 2007

SPUC welcomes doctors' refusal to do abortions but warns on threats to conscience London, 16 April 2007 - The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) welcomes news that more and more doctors are refusing to perform abortions, but it warns that there are still attacks on the consciences of medical staff. It calls for a coalition of all types of professionals, including teachers, who will assert their conscientious rights. John Smeaton, SPUC national director, said: "We are pleased to hear that an increasing number of medical staff are refusing to perform abortions, but this situation is being talked up by those who want nurses or other non-doctors to perform abortion. I do hope the profession is coming to realise the profound contradiction between its caring and life-preserving role, and the act of destruction of innocent human lives. Maybe after the six and a half million children who have died since legalisation 40 years ago, and countless mothers hurt by their abortion experience, we are finally seeing abortion for the social horror that it is. "In the light of this news there come calls for abortion to be made a mandatory part the new medical curriculum. This is a grave assault on the consciences of medical students and junior doctors. Their resistance could be worn down by such training. "We also hear calls for abortion to be performed by nurses. This is not the solution to the problem which abortion causes to society, and would only compromise another type of medical staff's ethical position. "Although medical staff are increasingly distancing themselves from abortion, they are still under immense pressure to refer women and girls to colleagues who will perform terminations. This compromises those good medics' consciences because they are involved in material cooperation with an evil act. They are, so to speak, accessories who aid and abet a grave human rights violation. "Even in schools, teachers and school nurses can be involved in referring for abortion, including in the cases of girls under the age of consent and without their parents' knowledge. Those people's consciences need to be protected too. "We need to build on this latest manifestation of doctors' revulsion at abortion and to construct a coalition of people who will have no part in carrying out abortions or in facilitating access to them. Those people's consciences need to be respected whatever profession they are in." The story about doctors refusing to perform abortions was carried in today's Independent , on the BBC 's Today programme , as well as in other media.

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