Azara Blog: BMA says first trimester abortions should only need to be approved by one doctor

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Date published: 2007/06/27

The BBC says:

Doctors have called for a relaxation of the rules to allow women quicker access to abortions in early pregnancy.

The British Medical Association conference backed a motion calling for abortions to be approved by just one doctor, rather than the current two.

The call only covers terminations in the first trimester, effectively the first three months of pregnancy.

However, the Department of Health said there were no plans to modify the current legislation.

The vote at the conference in Torquay - passed by 67% to 33% - effectively means doctors want abortion to be carried out on an "informed consent" basis - assuming that one doctor explaining the pros and cons is enough.

This would make it as easy to obtain as other treatments.

However, BMA representatives rejected proposals to allow nurses and midwives to carry out terminations.
Abortions before the nine-week mark can be done using drugs, rather than surgically.

But with waits of up to seven weeks in areas, some women are denied this option.
Anne Weyman, chief executive of the Family Planning Association, said: "There is no justification in making women seek the permission and approval of two doctors to have an abortion, so we are delighted that the BMA has voted in favour of removing this criteria.

"We are disappointed that the BMA has voted not to extend the role of performing abortion to other trained professionals and the premises where abortion takes place, as the evidence to support this change is clear."

Julia Millington, of the ProLife Alliance, said there was clear evidence that the UK already had abortion on demand.

The UK does not currently have "abortion on demand", so Millington's claim is the usual fatuous response one expects from the anti-abortion zealots. Of course the BMA proposal is sane and will make it easier for women to get abortions, so is a good thing. On the other hand, the BMA is a trade union, and their decision to reject proposals "to allow nurses and midwives to carry out terminations" should just be viewed as a trade union trying to protect its turf, so not that surprising.

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