Monday, April 16, 2007
Alive and Kicking Campaign website - a British pro-life organization
Abortion crisis as doctors refuse to perform surgery
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.
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.
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.
The situation has been aggravated by the cut in junior doctors' hours, introduced two years ago, which means doctors no longer have time to train in all parts of the service and must pick and choose the areas to work in.
Doctors have always been able to opt out of doing abortions on religious grounds. But, since the 1990s, guidance issued by the Faculty of Family Planning and the RCOG has included a conscientious objection clause.
Due to his strong feeelings about the abortion debate, James Gerrard refuses to refer any of his patients seeking the operation. During his training in the Nineties he also opted out of any tuition on abortion.
"In my day to day work I deal with requests for terminations but I have a conscientious objection to that. During the consultation I will tell them because of my personal views I cannot refer them to hospital for the procedure and they will have to speak with another doctor. Out of the six doctors in our practice, three of us object to abortion.
"I had made my mind up on abortion before entering the medical profession. I am a Roman Catholic and my religious beliefs do form my moral point of view. Personally I feel the foetus is a person and killing that foetus is wrong. I have not come up against any aggression because of my stance, either from colleagues or from patients I've refused to refer.
"I think people understand it is a personal choice and respect that."
Archive of box office forecast columns at Box Office Prophets
The Pope's monthly prayer intentions, along with some reflections on them
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Plenary Indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday
Univers 39 Thin Ultra Condensed