As midwives, we support women – whatever their choices on abortion

by Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive, Royal College of Midwives, UK”The Royal College of Midwives is not advocating for or against abortion – but for a decriminalisation that would allow women to make their own decisions.”Over the past few days the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and I, as its chief executive, have been in the middle of what has been described as a media frenzy. If you have not yet seen any of the often distorted media coverage, it is because the RCM is supporting a campaign to decriminalise abortion. According to some coverage, the RCM is campaigning to legalise abortion on demand, at any time during pregnancy, for any reason.”First, this is not true. Second, it misrepresents what the campaign to decriminalise abortion is about and aiming to achieve.”Let me put the record straight about what the RCM is actually supporting. It is in favour of decriminalising abortion. In keeping with this position, the RCM does not believe it is right that in the 21st century those women who choose to have an abortion can be criminalised. Put simply, this means they can be sent to jail for having an abortion, unless it is within the very strict parameters of the 1967 Abortion Act, which effectively gives others control over a woman’s decision-making.”This requires that two doctors approve a termination, which can cause delays in treatment and prolong this very difficult time for women. Provisions in the act are also used to prevent women from taking the “abortion pill” at home in their own time, requiring instead that women attend multiple appointments at a clinic, denying them choice over when the pregnancy is passed.”If we are to be advocates for women, then we must advocate for choice on all aspects of their care. Accordingly, the RCM believes that abortion should be removed from the criminal law…”FULL TEXT: The Guardian, 18 May 2016