The largest trade association and union for doctors in the United Kingdom, the British Medical Association, has just voted to adopt the decriminalization of abortion as their formal policy. The group will now begin lobbying the government for a change in abortion law. Medical Ethics Committee Chair John Chisholm said that a majority of doctors wanted abortion to be treated solely as a medical issue, and for all criminal sanctions to be lifted:
Abortion is currently a crime, with exceptions, throughout the UK. Following the debate the majority of doctors were clear that abortion should be treated as a medical issue rather than a criminal one. What must be clear is that decriminalisation does not mean deregulation. The debate today and the BMA’s new policy only relate to whether abortion should or should not be a criminal offence; the policy does not address the broader issue of when and how abortion should be available. The BMA has established policy on these issues which remains unchanged.
Approximately 500 doctors met at the British Medical Association’s annual meeting this week, which included a special debate session and a vote on decriminalizing abortion. Doctors were made to read a 52-page document on the topic. It was purported to be neutral, but some argued that it was actually biased, as the authors included proponents of late-term abortion. One of them was Wendy Savage, who has argued in favor of allowing abortion up until birth, allowing women to order abortion pills online, and sex-selective abortion.
After the debate, Dr. Clare Gerada celebrated the vote. Gerada is the former chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs and a trustee of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service:
BMA doesn’t make law, but the BMA is a very powerful voice for doctors and it’s a very powerful voice for people of this country. And to be able to say that the BMA fully supports the decriminalization of abortion I think is a very, very, very powerful voice to have. For the BMA to be coming out absolutely overwhelmingly for the decriminalization of abortion, I think now politicians will have to stand up and listen and actually take action.
Gerada added that she thinks a bill will be put forward to the House of Commons.
While some are cheering the ruling, the measure is largely unpopular — both with doctors and with the general public. 1,200 doctors signed a petition opposing it, which was delivered to the British Medical Association. The signers argued that this was a motion being promoted by “a small group of campaigners with extreme views on abortion,” and that passing it would “severely damage” the medical profession.
While the British Medical Association did not specifically vote in favor of overturning the time limits surrounding abortion, there are fears that this new measure will eventually lead to allowing late-term abortion on-demand. Currently, abortion in the United Kingdom is banned after 24 weeks of pregnancy, unless the baby is diagnosed prenatally with a disability, in which case abortion is permitted at any point during pregnancy. If abortion is completely decriminalized, then it is reasonable to assume that the government regulations in place limiting abortions — such as abortions after 24 weeks — will be removed, despite what the BMA is currently saying.
It’s not difficult to see why most people, including doctors, oppose late-term abortion and abortion on demand generally. As AbortionProcedures.com points out, abortion after 24 weeks is carried out on a preborn baby who “is almost fully-developed and is considered viable, meaning he or she could survive outside the womb.” The procedure itself is drawn-out and violent as well, as former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino explains in the video below:
The general public does not agree with late-term abortion or with relaxing abortion laws; a recent survey found that a majority of Britons want the abortion limit rolled back, not increased. One in three said they felt that abortion should be illegal after 12 weeks; only 1% of respondents wanted abortion legal until birth. A majority of Britons also supported heavy restrictions on abortion, inluding bans on sex-selective abortion, required waiting limits, and mandatory parental consent.
It does not seem that the decriminalization of abortion is a popular notion, but the British Medical Association has seemingly sided with the pro-abortion lobby over what doctors and the public want. By decriminalizing abortion and fighting to make the violent procedure more mainstream, the BMA is not only violating human rights, but it is also choosing the abortion industry over women, children, and families.