‘Abortion skills’ training could be forced upon pro-life students in the UK

Pro-life medical students who want to protect unborn babies from terminations could be forced to learn “abortion skills” under new proposals.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has released a report stating its intention to teach and assess “abortion skills” as part of its core curriculum but made no mention of any provision for conscientious objection.

In its Better for Women report, the College says “the General Medical Council (GMC) should review the Undergraduate medical curriculum to include the importance of abortion care to students.

“The RCOG will teach abortion skills as a part of its core curriculum and assess those skills through examination.”

All doctors who practise medicine in the UK must be registered with the GMC, meaning if the proposals are adopted, pro-life medical students could be forced to sit through undefined “abortion skills” training or risk losing their membership of the medical body.

In 2016, an inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group found that UK doctors who do not wish to participate in abortion procedures are often refused the right to conscientious objection.

Fiona Bruce MP, who chairs the APPG, said: “This report reveals concerning evidence of doctors and other healthcare professionals being harassed, abused, and denied career choices, as a result of seeking to exercise their legal right to conscientiously object to being involved in the abortion process.”

Later that year, it emerged only 1% of trainee obstetricians and gynaecologists were taking higher training in abortion.

The document also outlines other extreme proposals:

  • A commitment to continue working with partner organisations [likely abortion clinics such as BPAS and Marie Stopes International] to advocate for the decriminalisation of abortion up to 24 weeks across the UK (page 16).
  •  The rollout of ‘facetime abortions’ across the UK allowing abortion consultations to take place over the phone or Facetime/Skype, rather than face-to-face (page 149).
  • The Government should “consider allowing” women to take the first powerful drug used to cause a non-surgical abortion at home, away from medical supervision and oversight. The second drug is already allowed to be taken at home (page 15).
  • Governments throughout the UK “must legislate” to introduce buffer zones around abortion clinics – which will prevent pro-life help from being offered to those who need it most (page 16).

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said:

“The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists claims its proposals are ‘Better for women’ through its title, but the reality is the opposite.

“The RCOG’s report, with its misleading title, makes a number of troubling proposals that are worse, not just for women and unborn babies, but also for medical students.   

“The extremely low number of trainee obstetricians and gynaecologists who were taking higher training in abortion likely reflects an innate human reluctance to destroy life. Such doctors should continue to have their rights to conscientiously object to abortions protected.   

 “Rather, this is another attempt to trivialise the ending of a life and to rush women and teenage girls through the abortion process, while providing less medical supervision and support for women. 

“The RCOG should instead 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. 

“The only people who would benefit from these changes are the UK’s two big abortion providers.

“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.” 

UK Government brings back Domestic Abuse Bill and with it an abortion threat

The UK Government has revived plans to introduce a new bill aimed at tackling domestic abuse after the previous bill, which radical MPs planned to hijack with an extreme abortion proposal, was scuppered by the general election. 

The Domestic Abuse Bill, first introduced with cross-party support by Theresa May’s government in July, would make it easier for the courts to prosecute in cases of domestic abuse. 

It would do this by creating a statutory definition that means harm caused is not just physical or sexual, but can also involve emotional, and economic abuse, and controlling behaviour.

However, it is very likely that pro-abortion MPs will attempt to hijack this Bill again with a radical amendment to introduce extreme abortion legislation to England & Wales.

Speaking at the Second Reading of the Bill’s previous incarnation, Labour MP Diana Johnson championed an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, that has seen Europe’s most extreme abortion legislation imposed upon the province. She also confirmed her intention to hijack the Domestic Abuse Bill with a radical amendment to introduce extreme abortion legislation to England & Wales.

All other MPs who spoke on the topic of abortion during the Second Reading were united in their criticism of Johnson and her plans to hijack the Domestic Abuse Bill, which would remove protections for unborn babies with a disability and allow sex-selective abortion.

Pro-life MP Fiona Bruce said the issue of extensive abortion reform “should not be undertaken by using Back-Bench amendments to an unrelated Bill.”

She added: “To learn our lesson on this, we need only look to the unforeseen circumstances now about to play out, sadly, in Northern Ireland later this month, with a five-month lacuna in the law on abortion there about to start because this place rushed through, with completely inadequate scrutiny, amendments to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Bill.”

Huw Merriman MP said, “it is essential that the Bill remains roughly in a shape that allows it to succeed”.

“Although I agree strongly with my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce) about abortion reform, which I very much favour, I do not believe this is the right Bill to deliver that reform”, he added.

An analysis by pro-life charity Right To Life UK revealed that the number of pro-life MPs has increased while the pro-abortion lobby has lost a large number of MPs following last week’s General Election, but abortion threats such as these are still on the horizon.

In a post-election article, the charity announced it will be working hard to oppose the proposed new abortion framework in Northern Ireland, which is due to be introduced on 31 March, and will also be working to block any attempts to introduced an extreme abortion law to Great Britain.

Additionally, they said they will work closely with MPs to campaign for positive changes designed to increase protection for babies in the womb and end pregnancy discrimination for women.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK Catherine Robinson said:

“It is highly inappropriate for pro-abortion MPs to hijack the Domestic Abuse Bill in a way that not only undermines its support for victims of domestic abuse and their families but also removes current legal safeguards for unborn babies, potentially allowing abortion for any reason up.

“Ahead of the election, tens of thousands of our supporters urged MP candidates to sign the Both Lives Pledge, which outlined three policy changes designed to increase protection for babies in the womb and end pregnancy discrimination for women. Ahead of polling day over 200 candidates had signed the pledge.

“Additionally, ComRes polling from 2017 showed the majority of people want the time limit for abortion to be reduced to below 20 weeks, not increased. We hope MPs will take note that the majority of people do not want this and swiftly reject proposals that remove protections for unborn babies.”