Doctors to vote on legalising abortion for any reason

On Tuesday 27th June, the British Medical Association (BMA) will vote on decriminalising abortion, potentially making it legal for any reason up to birth. The vote comes after MP’s voted in favour of Diana Johnson’s ten minute rule Bill urging decriminalisation in March. Although the parliamentary vote was largely symbolic and no further progress was made. If the 500 BMA delegates vote in favour campaigners such as BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service) will begin pushing for a change in the law to completely decriminalise abortion.

Such a change would mean, abortions could be carried out legally anywhere, for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy. Sex-selective abortions, mail-order abortions and the distribution of abortion pills on school premises would all become perfectly legal. The conscience clause would also fall, so health professionals might be forced to carry out abortions or lose their licenses to practise. While the BMA would be at odds with the Hippocratic Oath forbidding abortion in all circumstances and the Declaration of Geneva requiring doctors to show the utmost respect for human life from conception.

Yet, such fundamental changes to the law would be in stark contrast to the views of the public, the vast majority of whom want to see a reduction in the number of abortions and in the permitted time limit.

A ComRes poll released last month shows that most people (60%) wanted lower time limits. Among women support for a reduction was even higher at 70%. 61% of Scots were opposed to any moves towards compelling doctors to participate in abortion procedures against their will and 82% believed that there should be a waiting period of five days between an initial consultation with a doctor and an abortion taking place. Crucially, only 1% of those polled wanted to see the abortion time limit raised to birth. These finds reveal a medical association completely at variance with the public it serves.

To build a more just world we need to ensure that every individual is afforded the right to life, this means a world free of abortion. Attempts to remove the right to life, such as the decriminalisation of abortion legislation, must always be rejected in favour of the rights of innocent children to live. Society must recognise and respect the inherent dignity of each and every human being, including the most innocent, vulnerable and defenceless. If we lose sight of the most fundamental and basic right to life of the smallest members of our community how can we ever hope to achieve a society of peace, tolerance and respect? Mother Teresa once said that the “greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion.” She had a point.

Act Now:

Members of the Medical Profession:

A group of doctors and medical students have launched an open letter challenging the BMA vote. It calls on all delegates at the conference to reject the motion. If you are a doctor or a medical student please sign this letter. You can do so by clicking the following link:

Members of the Public:

You can show your opposition to the motion, by signing the following petition: