grey-scale pregnancy bump

New NHS guidance recommends rushing women through abortion process

12th Apr 2019 - James Mildred

New NHS guidance says women should be able to self-refer for an abortion without even seeing a GP in person or having any counselling.

The draft proposals also recommend that women be offered an appointment within a week and receive an abortion a week after and routine follow-ups are not necessary for a woman following an abortion procedure.

Dr Callum Miller, a doctor and research associate at the University of Oxford said: “self-referral, self-administration and less medical involvement is not an improvement in health services for women.”

These radical ideas have been produced by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the official NHS advisory board, in its first abortion guidance and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

NICE is also recommending that tens of thousands of women should be allowed to take abortion pills at home. This follows a change in the law last year to permit women to take the second abortion pill at home, rather than in the safety of an NHS hospital or Secretary of State approved clinic.

The proposals are out for consultation until the end of May.

Reckless approach to healthcare

Right to Life’s Clare McCarthy said the proposed changes were a ‘reckless approach’ to healthcare and will lead to the abortion rate increasing: “This is a reckless approach to healthcare. Women’s safety and mental or physical health should never be potentially compromised for the sake of expediency or convenience.”

“The recommended changes from NICE and the RCOG will rush women through the abortion process and provide less medical supervision and support for women.

“In 2017, in the UK 197,533 babies in the womb were aborted. This does not appear to be enough for the abortion lobby and head of the RCOG, Lesley Regan, who has said she wants to see abortion as easy as getting ‘your bunions sorted’. Instead, they have brought forward these recommended changes which would mean less time for women to explore options other than abortion and could see our already very high abortion rate increase even further.”

Women should be given more time to consider options

McCarthy went on to say that women should be given more time to consider all the options available to her: “Contrary to the recommended changes seeking to rush women through the abortion process, a ComRes poll found that 79% of the general public in the UK are in favour of introducing consideration periods to ensure that a women considering an abortion has had enough time to consider all of the options available to her."

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Other recommended changes in the draft proposals include:

  • Removing current consultation with a GP where women can talk through their options and be provided with emotional support, to be replaced with self-referrals to abortion providers

  • Reduce the time that women have to reflect on and contemplate their decision

  • Replace face-to-face abortion consultations with phone or telemed consultations

  • Expand abortion services from current list of registered hospitals and clinics to a far wider range of settings ‘in the community’

  • Increase funding for travel and accommodation for those wishing to access abortion services, but no recommendation to increase funding for women using to proceed with pregnancies

  • Where possible, remove doctor involvement replacing them with nurses and midwives

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