New study threatens midwives’ freedom of conscience on abortion

Apr 24, 2017 by

by Steve Fouch, CMF:

In the latest bid to circumvent the increasing number of younger doctors being unwilling to perform abortions, a new report has challenged the need for some surgical abortions to be undertaken by doctors at all.

Sally Sheldon, a Law Professor at the University of Kent, has published a study into the 1967 Abortion Act and subsequent legal opinions to argue that in the case of vacuum aspiration (VAs), midwives or nurses should be able to carry out the procedure.

This, she argues is congruent with ‘recognition of nurse competences, follows government policy that patients should receive the right care, in the right place at the right time by appropriately trained staff, fits with guidance offered by relevant professional bodies, and offers the potential for developing more streamlined, cost-effective abortion services’

Doctors, she says, should still make the decision, but an appropriately trained nurse or midwife is technically capable of undertaking the procedure, meaning that abortions can be carried out more readily, quickly (and presumably, cheaply – given the current pay differential between doctors and nurses).

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