Monday, April 16, 2007

Wait, Is That a Glimmer of Light?

This article from the Evening Standard caught my eye:

More young doctors oppose abortions on ethical grounds

Rising numbers of doctors are refusing to carry out abortions, leading to a crisis in NHS provision.

The stance by staff, taken on ethical grounds, has led to a doubling of abortions carried out by private clinics, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The swell of medical staff joining the unprecedented moral revolt means that there may soon not be enough doctors to carry out sufficient terminations to meet the public demand.

Katherine Guthrie, a spokesman on family planning for the RCOG, said: "You get no thanks for performing abortions. You get spat on. Who admits to friends at a dinner party that they are an abortionist?

"There is an increasing number of young doctors who are not participating in training. The Department of Health is really worried."

The numbers of terminations carried out in Britain currently stands at a record 190,000 a year. But refusals by its doctors mean that the NHS is having to pay private hospitals to carry out the procedures.

The percentage of abortions carried out in private hospitals has doubled from 20 per cent in 1997 to almost 40 per cent today.

Abortion is legal in Britain up to nine months if doctors believe the baby has a severe disability or the mother's life is at risk.

But termination for 'social' reasons - the effect of the pregnancy on the mental health and well-being of the mother - is legal up to 24 weeks.

However, campaigners argue that the current Abortion Act is outdated because of medical advances that mean more premature babies than ever now survive.

James Gerrard, a GP in Leeds, said: "Out of the six doctors in our practice, three of us object to abortion. I had made up my mind on abortion before entering the medical profession. I feel the foetus is a person and killing that foetus is wrong."

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "This is an issue we will be discussing with the RCOG."

A Roman Catholic hospital popular with celebrity mothers-to-be is to ban all its staff from providing contraceptives or abortion referrals.

Staff at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in North London is introducing a code of ethics for its resident GPs and other staff.

Anyone working there will not be able to offer any service which conflicts with Catholic teaching on the value of human life or sexual ethics.

The hospital in St John's Wood is described as 'the poshest place to push' on account of the maternity unit's A-list clientele, including Cate Blanchett and Kate Moss.

The code is expected to be ratified at a board meeting next month.


There are some things in this article that bother me, but I am happy that many young doctors are recognizing that abortion is taking a human life. It is also nice to see a conservative attitude developing in Great Britain. Perhaps U.S. doctors will take notice.

On the negative side, the media still seems to slant the coverage of this development in a pro-abortion light. ... abortion for social reasons???

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