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Press Release: RTL Criticises FRSH Affirmation of Abortion On Demand, For Any Reason, Up To Birth

Right To Life is criticising the Faculty of Reproductive and Sexual Health (FRSH) of the Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians (RCOG), which today follows the RCOG in affirming so-called abortion ‘decriminalisation’.

‘Decriminalisation’ refers to the removal of abortion from criminal law, which despite claims made that this would not preclude ‘regulation’, would mean that abortion would be legalised on demand, for any reason, up to birth or up to 28 weeks (depending on what legal form it took). It would mean abortion would be taken away from the democratic accountability of Parliament, and left in the hands of unelected medical bodies dominated by abortion lobbyists and their allies.

The FRSH and the RCOG are already two such bodies, as the RCOG voted to support ‘decriminalisation’ earlier this year, without consulting their membership. This un-democratic decision provoked a revolt from 650 doctors who were outraged at the move.  Other medical trade unions who have done likewise, and also seen significant objections from their own members, include the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the British Medical Association (BMA).

Even though the FRSH surveyed their members, many will be those who are already involved in abortion provision, and so it is no surprise that they would vote this way. Others still will be misled by the claims that ‘decriminalisation’ only means minor changes favouring women and doctors, rather than the full radical implications such a move entails.

The FRSH have issued this affirmation on the basis that young medics are being put off training to provide abortions by the threat of criminal sanctions, with the RCOG reporting in March that only one doctor had been trained to provide abortions between 14 and 19 weeks since 2009.

Yet whilst it is true that doctors are being put off training to provide second and third trimester abortions, there is no evidence to suggest this is because of the threat of prosecution. No doctor has ever been prosecuted since the passing the Abortion Act 1967. Indeed, of 67 doctors caught pre-signing abortion forms in 2014, and two doctors caught on camera offering sex-selective abortions in 2012, none were prosecuted despite their flagrant flouting of the law.

The handful of abortion prosecutions that have taken place in the UK, have only happened when very late or very callous examples of abortion have taken place.

Not only is there no probative evidence that medical professionals are not entering into late term abortion provision for fear of criminal sanction, evidence from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and academic studies that have taken place over time show that it is the emotional toll on medical professionals from ending fetal ‘life’, especially late in pregnancy, that may dissuade doctors from going for training for later abortions.

The FRSH are not only out of touch with the evidence and with medical opinion more widely, but with the vast majority of public opinion. ComRes poll from May found only 1% of women wanted to see the time limit for abortion increased beyond 24 weeks, whereas 70% wanted to see the upper limited lowered, with 59% wanting to see it decreased to at least 16 weeks.

Meanwhile, another ComRes poll this month found that 72% support the idea that abortion should be governed by a legal framework (rejecting ‘decriminalisation’). This reflected the findings of an ICM poll organised by the BBC in October, which found that pluralities supported having two doctors approve an abortion (36%) over just one (7%), or a midwife or specialist nurse (12%), or with no legal approval (15%). 39% supported abortion being considered a criminal matter, compared to 34% not.

This is just another example of a body being co-opted by a small group of abortion lobbyists, holding an extreme and inhumane minority position.

RTL Executive Officer Peter D. Williams, said:

“This vote today is nothing more than a publicity stunt, as the RCOG have already, without consulting their membership (as with other trade unions like the Royal College of Midwives and the British Medical Association), voted to support so-called ‘decriminalisation’.

This is just one example the steady drip of similar stories we can expect from bodies co-opted by the abortion lobby as they wait to attempt to achieve their ultimate goal of achieving abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth, which they are attempting to dress up as mere ‘decriminalisation’.

Such an extreme move would be horrifically inhumane, and polling shows has no support outside a tiny minority of the population. Rather, the vast majority want to see lower abortion time limits, more support for women in unplanned pregnancies, and tighter legal controls on abortion.

Let’s not be misled by such propaganda, but see it as an opportunity to remind ourselves of the full reality not only of what decriminalisation truly will involve, but what sort of abortion reform the majority of Britons would really like to see”.

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