UK’s largest abortion provider opposes investigation into stillbirths that could save lives

Britain’s largest abortion provider is objecting to life-saving plans that would let coroners hold inquests for stillbirths over fears the move will recognise the humanity and personhood of an unborn baby.

It follows UK government proposals which recommend new powers for coroners that will enable them to hold inquests for ‘full-term’ stillbirths from 37 weeks’ gestation and suggest changes that could save the lives of unborn babies.

In its response to a joint consultation from the Ministry of Justice and Department for Health and Social Care, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service expressed ‘serious concern’ that the proposals risk “conferring a degree of foetal personhood” which is not currently reflected by existing law.

However, bereaved parents, doctors, lawyers and coroners have long been calling for a change in the law which currently allows an inquest for a baby who died seconds after delivery but not for one who died before.

They say stillbirths are too often not properly investigated and a change in the law would provide parents with answers on what went wrong and why, while ensuring any mistakes are identified to prevent future deaths.

Approximately, nine babies are stillborn every day in the UK. That’s one in every 225 births. 800 of stillbirths every year are full-term.

BPAS, who carried out over 70,000 abortions last year, drew a distinction between the “infanticide or murder of a new-born baby versus child destruction of an unborn baby”, noting that stillborn babies are not issued with a birth or death certificate.

They also claim that it is inappropriate to refer to a stillbirth as a “death” in case it indicates a legal personhood the stillborn baby did not have.

Numerous women who had lost children in labour hit back at BPAS’ response. Among them was Caroline Tully, who had to fight for an inquest for her daughter Clara.

She told the Mail on Sunday, that BPAS’ opposition “could come at a cost to the lives of unborn babies, by allowing unsafe practices to go unchecked.”

Michelle Hemmington, of the Campaign For Safer Births, who lost her son due to medical mistakes agreed, adding: “This change could save babies’ lives.”

Spokesperson for Right to Life, Catherine Robinson said:

“In contrast to BPAS’s consultation response, biological science shows that a baby is genetically distinct from the mother from conception. From 16 weeks a baby can hear sounds from the outside world and from 6 weeks the heart can be seen beating on an ultrasound scan at this stage. These facts expose the difficulty in denying the humanity, personhood and right to life of the unborn baby.”

“We hope that the UK government listens to the bereaved parents, doctors, lawyers and coroners who have long been calling for a change in law, that could save lives, and ignore the calls of abortion activists who are more concerned about growing the number of terminations they perform.”

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Hundreds of Northern Ireland healthcare professionals oppose ‘fatal’ abortion regime

Hundreds of doctors, nurses and midwives have written to the Northern Ireland Secretary to express their strong opposition to the “fatal” abortion regime that is about to be imposed upon the country.

Over 800 healthcare professionals signed an open letter to Julian Smith the Northern Ireland Secretary of State outlining their concern for pregnant mothers and their unborn children, stating that abortion is the “unjust and violent taking of human life.”

They also sought reassurances that as pro-life medics they would be able to conscientiously object from taking any part in providing abortions, without the risk of losing their job.

In July, Westminster voted to impose unregulated abortion throughout the first 28 weeks gestation (7 months) on Northern Ireland if Stormont’s Executive is not restored by 21 October.

This was despite the fact that abortion remains a devolved issue in Northern Ireland and the fact that every MP from the region who sits in Westminster voted against the decision.

Andrew Cupples, a Northern Ireland GP and signatory of the letter, said it could be five months before any potential legislation will be introduced to protect midwives and nurses who choose not to be involved in an abortion.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: “The crux of this issue, if you are in that situation, is do you have the legal protection [and] moral right to say: ‘I am sorry I am not happy with this’?”

He added: “At the moment Northern Ireland has the best and most protected care for women and unborn children. On October 22 it will have the worst in western Europe. The unborn child in the womb will have no legal rights up to 28 weeks.”

“We don’t want this brought in. We haven’t been asked. Stella Creasy who tabled this motion said during the debate that she didn’t want to ask the people in Northern Ireland, but she wanted the opinion of healthcare professionals. The healthcare professionals are giving her our opinion.”

Pro-life group ‘Midwives for Both Lives’ has written to Royal College of Midwives and the Northern Ireland Office to highlight the disparity between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

They said there is “currently no conscientious objection in law in Northern Ireland for midwives” and contrasted this with the rest of the UK where health staff “are protected under law and under the NMC code”.

In other countries with extreme abortion laws, doctors who refuse to perform abortions, have, on occasion, found their careers on the line.

In Victoria, Australia, in 2013, a doctor was disciplined and almost lost his job after he refused to refer a patient for a sex-selective abortion – because the child’s parents’ wanted a son.

In Sweden, a midwife has been repeatedly denied employment because of her pro-life views.

The Royal College of GPs told the BBC “conscientious objection” for staff must be protected and included in any guidelines, adding there were still many unanswered questions which could leave staff vulnerable.

The Royal College of Midwives told the BBC: “No midwife need be involved in the direct provision of termination services if they have a moral or ethical objection”.

Spokesperson for Right to Life, Catherine Robinson said:

“Many healthcare professionals recognise that abortion is not healthcare, and that in their care of a pregnant woman they have two patients: a mother and a child. What sort of society are we creating, if we tell doctors, nurses and midwives that they must be involved in abortions, however strong their objections, or face the end of their career?”

What sort of society are we creating when we allow extreme abortion laws to be imposed up on a country where the majority of women do not want them? 100,000 people are alive today who would otherwise not be, because Northern Ireland chose life over the Abortion Act 1967.”

“We join the calls of these 835 healthcare professionals in their appeal to Northern Ireland’s elected representatives to re-establish a functional government so that democratic process be restored and this extreme abortion regime will be halted”.

Click the button below to email your MLAs/MP/party leaders now asking them to ensure that Stormont is reconvened by October 21.

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