LONDON, May 12, 2014 ( – Pro-life doctors in the UK who refuse in conscience to prescribe abortifacient drugs face losing the right to practice as a specialist in “sexual and reproductive health” under new rules by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

The guidance bars any medical professional who objects to “any form of contraception” from receiving the qualification. The guidance made it clear that the rule includes the abortifacient Morning After Pill, called “emergency contraception” by the medical establishment, and mechanical methods like the IUD and coil that prevent the implantation of an early embryo. 

Medical professionals who oppose artificial contraception “are very welcome to undertake the training,” the guidance says, adding that “such training will always enhance knowledge, skills and attitudes in sexual and reproductive healthcare.”


But because doctors holding “moral or religious reservations about any contraceptive methods” will be “ineligible for the award of the examination or completion of training certificates,” RCOG’s Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH) suggests, “It is therefore probably not in the trainees' interest to undertake these extensive training programmes.”

The guidance states:

It must be made clear at the outset that a trainee who restricts his/her repertoire of methods may not be able to satisfy the Faculty Registered Trainer that he/she has experience of those methods to which the trainee has a conscientious objection.

Completing the syllabus (theory and practical) means willingness during training to prescribe all forms of hormonal contraception, including emergency, and willingness to counsel and refer, if appropriate, for all intrauterine methods. Failure to complete the syllabus renders candidates ineligible for the award of a FSRH Diploma.

The FSRH notes that these rules do not apply to those doctors who object to abortion, saying that the conscientious objection to participation in abortion is “outside the mainstream provision of contraception, and therefore attracts different guidelines.”

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Even doctors and nurses who have successfully completed training programs will be barred from receiving the necessary qualifications in “sexual and reproductive health” if they have a moral objection to prescribing hormonal contraceptives. The new rule also prohibits such doctors from membership in the faculty.

Dr. Peter Saunders, head of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said that the rules are a brazen form of anti-Christian discrimination. “To put it bluntly,” he wrote, “if you refuse to fit coils or prescribe the morning after pill (MAP) then you can’t train to treat infertility, cervical cancer or HIV either.”

“This effectively means that many thousands of doctors will not be able to pursue a career in gynaecology and sexual health.” 

He called it “an extraordinary case of taking a sledge-hammer to a walnut more worthy of gulag or gestapo than what David Cameron has called a ‘Christian country’.”

“Surely reasonable accommodation could be made for pro-life doctors? Can the RCOG really argue that there is no creative alternative to these draconian measures?”


Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
27 Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, UK
Phone: +44 (0)20 7772 6200
Fax: +44 (0)20 7723 0575