Reckless guidelines could rush pregnant mothers into abortion procedures

Pregnant mothers could be rushed having into abortions under new proposals from the UK’s health watchdog to NHS organisations.

The guidance makes a series of recommendations which will reduce support for women, threaten the conscience protections of health professionals, and introduce the reality of abortion further into the home away from the care and support of healthcare professionals.

The radical recommendations have been produced by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the official NHS advisory board, in its first abortion guidance and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

Pro-life campaigners and organisations have branded the guidelines as concerning and reckless.

‘Self-referral’ abortions and no support

The guidelines recommend that women should be able to “self-refer” for an abortion without having to meet with a GP in person.

They also recommend that abortion providers should “ensure minimal delay” in the process thereby reducing the time that women have to reflect upon their decision and explore alternatives to abortion. 

Instead, any request for an abortion should be assessed within a week of the request and that the termination should be provided within a week of the assessment.

The guidelines also suggest increasing the range of locations where abortions can be provided as well as increased funding for travel costs for obtaining abortions and reducing the need for routine follow-up appointments.

It adds that where possible nurses and midwives will reduce the role of a doctor during abortion procedures, instead of doing the job they signed up for – ensuring unborn babies are delivered safely into the world and given the best care possible.

The guidelines claim that early medical abortions will be able to take place in the home with no routine follow-up appointments. It states that women having a medical abortion should be advised “that they may see the pregnancy as they pass it”, “what the pregnancy will look like”, and “whether there may be any movement.”

Spokesperson for Right to Life, Catherine Robinson said:

“The recommendations in these guidelines from NICE will rush women through the abortion process and provide less medical supervision and support for women. In 2018, in the UK 205,292 babies in the womb were aborted. These recommended changes could mean less time for women to explore options other than abortion and see our already very high abortion rate increase even further.

“Contrary to the recommended changes seeking to rush women through the abortion process, a ComRes poll found that 79% of the general public in the UK are in favour of introducing consideration periods to ensure that a woman considering an abortion has had enough time to consider all of the options available to her.

“The guidelines should address the reasons women seek out abortion services in such high numbers in this country, often because of; vulnerability, isolation, lack of financial or emotional support, or pressure from a partner. Simply rushing women through the abortion process does nothing to address the problems these women already face and would only later compound these issues if coupled with post-abortion regret.

“This is a reckless approach to healthcare. Women’s safety and mental or physical health should never be potentially compromised for the sake of expediency or convenience.”

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Press release: NICE abortion guidelines recommend NHS rush women through abortion process – could lead to an increase in abortions

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NICE abortion guidelines recommend NHS rush women through abortion process – could lead to an increase in abortions

26 September 2019 – NICE has released abortion guidance that makes a series of recommendations which will encourage services to rush women through the abortion process, reduce medical support for women, could threaten the consciences of health professionals, and could lead to an increase in the number of abortions.

The guidelines recommend that abortion providers to

  • Encourage women to “self-refer” for abortions. (p.8)
  • “Ensure minimal delay in the abortion process” thereby reducing the time that women have to reflect upon their decision and look at other support options. (p.9)
  • Replace face-to-face abortion consultations with a GP or health professional with phone or ‘telemed’ consultations. (p.9)
  • Expand abortion services from the current list of registered hospitals and clinics to a far wider range of settings “in the community”.(p.9)
  • Increase funding for travel and accommodation to access abortion services, but there is no mention of providing increased funding and support for women who wish to continue with their pregnancies. (p.8)
  • Utilise nurses and midwives as much as possible, thereby minimising the role of doctors in the abortion process. (p.9)
  • Increase integration of abortion training and practical experience into training for health professionals and students. (p.10)
  • Not provide routine follow-up appointments for women who have had an abortion at home or at a location other than an abortion clinic or hospital. Instead, remote assessment, via “telephone or text messaging”, could be an alternative, to a post-abortion follow-up with a GP. (p.19)
  • Introduce procedure where abortions take place before pregnancy has been confirmed by an ultrasound. (p.14)

Spokesperson for Right to Life, Catherine Robinson said:

“The recommendations in these guidelines from NICE will rush women through the abortion process and provide less medical supervision and support for women. In 2018, in the UK 205,292 babies in the womb were aborted. These recommended changes could mean less time for women to explore options other than abortion and see our already very high abortion rate increase even further.”

“Contrary to the recommended changes seeking to rush women through the abortion process, a ComRes poll found that 79% of the general public in the UK are in favour of introducing consideration periods to ensure that a woman considering an abortion has had enough time to consider all of the options available to her.

“The guidelines should address the reasons women seek out abortion services in such high numbers in this country, often because of; vulnerability, isolation, lack of financial or emotional support, or pressure from a partner. Simply rushing women through the abortion process does nothing to address the problems these women already face and would only later compound these issues if coupled with post-abortion regret.

“This is a reckless approach to healthcare. Women’s safety and mental or physical health should never be potentially compromised for the sake of expediency or convenience.”

Dr Callum Miller, medical doctor and research associate at the University of Oxford, said:

“Self-referral, self-administration and less medical involvement in abortions is not an improvement in health services for women. Clearly, the absence of medical supervision for taking powerful drugs, often with great distress, is not an improvement in medical care.

“The guidance states that there is no routine follow-up necessary for women following an abortion procedure. This is especially concerning given what appears to be a drive to encourage out-of-clinic use of misoprostol where women will pass the fetus either at home or at another non-clinical location.

“Mental health reviews have repeatedly stressed the need for screening for those at risk of negative mental health consequences from abortion, and it is disappointing to see that such women are not offered psychological follow up after such a traumatic event which appears to be associated with worse mental health outcomes.

ENDS

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Australia: New South Wales’ extreme abortion bill becomes law

The Australian State of New South Wales has voted to legalise an extreme abortion bill that will permit terminations up to 22 weeks into a women’s pregnancy without any kind of restriction and allow abortion up until birth with the consent of two doctors.

There was applause in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as the Abortion Law Reform Act passed 26-14 in the state’s lower house, on Thursday, after 70 hours of debate in both houses.

Previously, abortions were only permitted in Australia’s most populous state if a doctor deemed the physical or mental health of a pregnant mother to be in serious danger if she continued to carry her child.

The legalisation of abortion in New South Wales means that unborn babies can be legally terminated everywhere in Australia, apart from the state of South Australia, where the law is currently under review.

The new legislation was strongly opposed by some pro-life parliamentarians who tried to add in amendments to protect some unborn babies and raised concerns about late-term abortions.

MP Mr Mason-Cox declared the bill dangerous and said “it lacks proper safeguards. It totally ignores the rights of an unborn child particularly in the case of late-term abortions.”

MP Mr Amato raised similar concerns and noted some MPs have put their “careers on the line” in the hope of defeating some of the more controversial elements of the bill.

Amendments passed in the New South Wales Legislative Council include one stating the New South Wales parliament opposes sex-selective abortions, with a future report on the issue to include recommendations on its prevention.

Another clarifies that doctors must provide appropriate care to babies born alive after a termination.

An amendment that would have requested the administration of pain relief in cases of the termination of unborn babies 20 weeks and beyond failed.

In neighbouring New Zealand, a similar bill to decriminalise abortion is currently going through parliament.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“This appalling Bill will likely result in an increase in the number of lost lives as it places no restrictions at all on abortion up to 22 weeks and will, in practice, allow for abortion for any reason up to birth, providing two doctors in the state are willing to approve the abortion.”

“In the UK, since the abortion act came into effect, over 9 million unborn children have had their lives ended. Last year, abortion numbers hit a ten year high with almost 1 in 4 pregnancies resulting in a termination of an unborn baby. The sadness and severity of these figures will now become a stark reality for New South Wales.”

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