04.17.07

(U.K.) Abortion Crisis as Doctors Refuse to Perform Surgery

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:49 am by Steve

Wow, if only we had this problem here in the United States.

Britain is facing an abortion crisis because an unprecedented number of doctors are refusing to be involved in carrying out the procedure. The exodus of doctors prepared to perform the task is a nationwide phenomenon that threatens to plunge the abortion service into chaos, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has warned.

More than 190,000 abortions are carried out each year in England and Wales and the NHS is already struggling to cope. Four out of five abortions are paid for by the NHS but almost half of those are carried out in the private sector, paid for by the NHS.

The reluctance of NHS staff, both doctors and nurses, to be involved has led to a doubling of abortions paid for by the NHS, which are carried out in the private or charitable sector, from 20 per cent of the total in 1997 to almost 40 per cent.

Distaste at performing terminations combined with ethical and religious convictions has led to a big increase in “conscientious objectors” who request exemption from the task, the RCOG says. A key factor is what specialists call “the dinner party test”. Gynaecologists who specialise in fertility treatment creating babies for childless couples are almost universally revered – but no one boasts of being an abortionist.

As a result, after decades of campaigning, anti-abortion organisations may be on the point of achieving their objective by default. Repeated efforts to tighten the law have failed and public opinion remains firmly in support, but the growing number of doctors refusing to do the work means there may soon not be enough prepared to carry out terminations to meet demand.

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Many doctors felt that, with contraception freely available on the NHS there was “no excuse” for women who got pregnant accidentally. Ms Furedi said: “They say, ‘why should we use our skills to clear up the mess?’ It is a very naïve view – unplanned pregnancy occurs for all sorts of reasons.”

In the US, where abortion is more politicised, groups of young doctors were committed to providing terminations which was seen as “worthwhile and heroic” because of the pressures they operated under, Ms Furedi said. But in Britain it was regarded as low status and unglamorous.

The decline in medical involvement in abortion is occurring as demand is rising. The number of terminations has doubled since the early 1970s and is now at a record 190,000 a year. One in three women has an abortion at some point in her life.

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For an abortion to be legal, it must be certified by two doctors under one of seven grounds, ranging from the continuation of the pregnancy posing a threat to the life of the woman to there being a “substantial risk” the baby would be born “seriously handicapped”.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: “This is an issue we are aware of and will be discussing with the the RCOG.”

Josephine Quintavalle of the Alive and Kicking alliance, an umbrella group of anti-abortion organisations, said: “We welcome this development. We should be working together to make abortions rare.”

Original Link.

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