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Hundreds of UK nurses revolt against planned abortion expansion

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

LONDON, April 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Nearly 400 nurses are protesting the UK’s Royal College of Nurses proposed support for a campaign to introduce abortion on demand. 

A total of 396 nurses have signed a letter to Janet Davies, the chief executive of the UK’s Royal College of Nurses (RCN), saying that they object to the College’s coercive plans to take a position on the decriminalization of abortion in the United Kingdom. 

In England and Scotland, abortion is legal until the unborn baby is 24 weeks old if a doctor agrees that allowing the baby to live would injure the physical or mental health of the mother or her other children, or if the child would be born with a serious disability. 

However, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and other abortion businesses have been campaigning to have abortion decriminalized completely. To this end, it has been wooing and winning allies like the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the Royal College of Midwives.  

Another potential ally is the Royal College of Nurses, headed by Janet Davies.  

According to the nurses’ “Not in My Name” campaign, Davies announced that a panel of RCN members would would be writing a “positioning statement” for the College regarding the complete removal of all legal restrictions on abortion. 

The Not in My Name campaigners believe that statement will support decriminalization, leading to wholesale slaughter of viable unborn babies. 

“If these measures were to be implemented, it would mean the introduction of abortion on demand, for any reason, to at least 28 weeks and possibly up to birth,” they wrote. “Ann Furedi, the CEO of abortion provider BPAS … has made it clear that they are aiming for the latter, the introduction of abortion up to birth.” 

One of the Not in My Name’s objections to Davies’ announcement was that members of the RCN would not be allowed to vote on the specific wording of the final “positioning statement.” The RCN’s over 400,000 members are merely being “surveyed,” asked only if they support or oppose the “broad concept of ‘decriminalisation’.” Their views will only “inform” the select panel’s official position.

Not in My Name invited members to sign a letter to Davies, protesting the “extreme” pro-abortion position they believe will be forced on them.  

“As nurses, midwives, health care assistants and nursing students, we object to a new extreme position being forced upon members of the RCN,” the letter reads. 

“We represent a variety of positions on the issue of abortion, but believe that supporting so called ‘decriminalisation’ is out of keeping with both our duties as responsible professionals and the expressed wishes of British women with regards to the legality and regulation of abortion.”

The letter cites recent polls that show British women want more, not fewer, restrictions on abortion. Whereas only 1% of women polled would welcome the abortion time limit extended past 24 weeks, 70% of women wanted the limit narrowed to 20 weeks or fewer. Moreover, 91% of women polled want an end to sex-selective abortion, an even higher percentage than the 82% polled in March 2014, who said the same. 

“Clearly, women want the law to be stricter on the legality and regulation of abortion, not more lax,” the letter stated. 

The signers agreed that abortion-on-demand is an extreme wished for only by abortion businesses and that the reputation of the  Royal College of Midwives had suffered from aligning itself with the pro-abortion movement.

“This move to introduce a radical abortion law is being promoted by a small group of campaigners with extreme views on abortion. Whilst they are entitled to hold the convictions they do we must not let them impose their agenda on the RCN and risk severely damaging its reputation as a professional body,” the letter reads. 

“The Royal College of Midwives saw a major media and public backlash following their announcement that they would be supporting a campaign to introduce abortion for any reason, up to birth. Many commentators on this controversy were pro-choice but recognised that taking this position was an extreme move, and the outrage caused reputational damage both to the Royal College of Midwives and to the wider midwifery profession.”

One of the drafters of the letter, a nurse named Steven Fouch, said he was concerned about the role of pro-abortion activists.

“There seems to be some evidence that there is a strong push supporting decriminalisation,” he said. “We feel that there is an agenda being pushed by a small minority.” 

Fouch was particularly worried about an end to nurses’ conscience rights, should abortion-on-demand be introduced into Britain.

“The real worry if decriminalisation went ahead and they effectively scrapped the 1967 Abortion Act is that the freedom of conscience clause, which is part of that Act, would be scrapped and therefore the legal protections that nurses have not to be involved in abortion would be removed,” he said. “That is a real concern.”

Nurse Beverley Hanson said that she felt that “to do anything that goes against life is totally wrong” and that it went against “the ethics of what we should be doing as nurses.” 

She pointed out that abortion in the UK is already “extremely accessible” and with decriminalization “there would be no grounds, nothing at all, to deter sex-selective abortions.” 

Lord Alton of Liverpool told media that it was encouraging for pro-life MPs “to see a grassroots revolt by nurses.”

“These nurses are right that their Royal College should not be using its resources to campaign for even more abortion,” he opined.

“In former times nurses could have relied on their Royal College to protect and represent them. Not anymore. Ideology seems to have taken the place of conscience.” 

The Catholic Herald reported that the suspicions of the Not in My Name committee that the end result of the “position paper” is rigged were probably “heightened by revelations about the influence within the RCN of senior members of BPAS and [abortion provider] Marie Stopes.”

According to the Scottish Mail on Sunday, the BPAS director of operations “helped to guide RCN abortion policy for at least a decade.”  This director, Mandy Myers, co-authored a RCN report on abortion published last year. It frequently mentions a supposed need for the “greater involvement of nurses in abortions.”

***

Full text of nurses letter to Janet Davies

The Royal College of Nursing have announced that a panel of RCN staff and members will be deciding on a positioning statement on the complete removal of all legal restriction and sanctions regarding abortion. If these measures were to be implemented, it would mean the introduction of abortion on demand, for any reason, to at least 28 weeks and possibly up to birth.

Ahead of this panel deciding the position the RCN are running a ‘survey’ of the RCN membership which does not allow for members of the RCN to vote on the specific wording of the final positioning statement. It instead asks a single question on whether members support or oppose the broad concept of ‘decriminalisation’ and only commits that this will  ‘inform’ the work that will lead to the final position statement this panel will decide on.

It is completely unacceptable that all members of the RCN will not been given the opportunity to vote on the specific wording of this significant change in policy.

As nurses, midwives, health care assistants and nursing students, we object to a new extreme position being forced upon members of the RCN. We represent a variety of positions on the issue of abortion, but believe that supporting so called ‘decriminalisation’ is out of keeping with both our duties as responsible professionals and the expressed wishes of British women with regards to the legality and regulation of abortion.

In the last few years, polls have consistently shown that a larger proportion of women want more, not fewer restrictions on abortion. A ComRes poll in May 2017 found that only 1% of women wanted to see the time limit for abortion extended above 24 weeks and only 1% of women wanted to see the time limit for abortion extended through to birth. The same poll found that 70% of women wanted to see the abortion time limit reduced to 20 weeks or below. The poll also found that 91% of women favour a total and explicit ban on sex-selective abortion, up from 88% from a poll in March 2014, which also found that 92% of women agree that a woman requesting an abortion should be seen in person by a qualified doctor. Clearly, women want the law to be stricter on the legality and regulation of abortion, not more lax.

This move to introduce a radical abortion law is being promoted by a small group of campaigners with extreme views on abortion. Whilst they are entitled to hold the convictions they do we must not let them impose their agenda on the RCN and risk severely damaging its reputation as a professional body.

The Royal College of Midwives saw a major media and public backlash following their announcement that they would be supporting a campaign to introduce abortion for any reason, up to birth. Many commentators on this controversy were pro-choice but recognised that taking this position was an extreme move, and the outrage caused reputational damage both to the Royal College of Midwives and to the wider midwifery profession.

Where required, we are responsible for the care of both women and their babies throughout pregnancy and childbirth and the current law, however imperfect, is an attempt to recognise that the life and health of both mother and baby need legal protection. It would be unacceptable for the organisation that represents us to support the radical position (supported by only a small minority of women) that all legal protection for babies should be removed, possibly right through to birth.

We, the undersigned, wish to state publicly that any policy which seeks to remove abortion from its current legal framework, does not represent us or our views. This extreme move does not reflect the moderate and reasonable views of the majority of British women and the general public on this issue, and would severely damage the reputation of both the RCN and the medical profession.

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