By Hilary White

LONDON, June 29, 2007 ( – A week after it was announced that England and Wales have broken their own records for abortion rates, physician members of the British Medical Association (BMA) voted yesterday to make abortion in Britain even easier to obtain in the first trimester of pregnancy.

While the doctors declined to follow the lead of some European countries in allowing nurses and midwives to kill unwanted children, they voted 189-89 to eliminate the need to consult a second doctor to approve an abortion. Under the current law, two doctors have to endorse the decision to abort, but the requirement is little more than a formality in practice.

The Department of Health reported June 19 that the number of abortions in England and Wales rose 3.9%, to 193,700 in 2006. The rate is a significant jump from a 0.4% increase the previous year.

The response of health minister Caroline Flint to the announcement of the substantial increase was to welcome the fact that a higher percentage of abortions were taking place at an early stage. She also urged the NHS to make contraceptives more available to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. The Labour government has increased funding to £40m over 2006/08 to “improve access to contraceptive services” and £8m to improve “early access” to abortion.

While a department of health spokesman said there were no plans to change the law to coincide with the BMA’s recommendations, given the current government’s enthusiasm for abortion and contraceptive funding it is likely that the BMA policy will be adopted eventually. Liberal Democrat MP, Dr. Evan Harris said, “Why on earth should women seeking termination — often distressed and anxious — be faced with irrational barriers, perceived or real, or face potential delays leading to later abortion when first trimester abortion, and in particular early medical abortion in the first nine weeks, is known to be safer and easier?”

But early and easier access to abortion, say pro-life advocates, is precisely the reason for the dramatic increase in the abortion rate. Newly appointed Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, “should end the Labour government’s policy of rushing women as quickly as possible through the abortion mill in its frenzy to cut waiting times,” said Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

“He should also end the policy of promoting secret abortions on teenagers without telling their parents, and he should stop the counter-productive sex education programmes that the pro-abortion lobby promotes widely,” Tully said.

Meanwhile, media reports are also increasing about the growing reluctance of doctors to go along with the abortion mentality. In April, the staunchly pro-abortion Guardian newspaper reported that “intolerant” young doctors were creating an “abortion crisis” for their refusal to endorse abortions. The Guardian quoted Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS—formerly the British Pregnancy Advisory Service—saying, “Younger doctors can be judgemental. They don’t see why they should have to—as one put it to me—clear up the mess if women can’t be bothered to use contraception.”

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists reported at the time that when given the option in their training, very few medical students opt for abortion training.

Read related coverage:

British Doctors “Increasingly Uneasy” with Abortion Survival Rate Reports Times

UK Doctors Refusing to Commit Abortion Alarm Royal College


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