British Doctors Vote for Easier Abortions Despite New Record Numbers

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 27, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Doctors Vote for Easier Abortions Despite New Record Numbers Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 27
, 2007

London, England ( — Doctors in England have voted to make abortions there easier to get by making it so women don’t need to get the signatures of two physicians before an abortion can be done. The move comes just after the government’s health department released new figures showing abortions at a record high.

Doctors attending the British Medical Association conference voted by a 67 to 33 percent margin to change the requirement from two physicians to one.

It will make it easier for women to say their pregnancy is jeopardizing their medical or physical health and obtain an abortion, although research shows the opposite to be true.

The motion the doctors group approved said "first trimester abortion would be available on the same basis of informed consent as other treatment and therefore without the need for two doctors’ signatures."

Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris, who is also a physician, called on his colleagues to vote for the motion, saying it would help reduce the number of late-term abortions, which he said are more dangerous for women.

"Why on earth should women seeking termination — often distressed and anxious — be faced with irrational barriers, perceived or real, or face potential delays leading to later abortion ," he said, according to a report in the London Telegraph.

At the same time, doctors also voted down a motion that to endorse allowing nurses and midwives to do abortions and another allowing abortions in private abortion businesses.

Anne Weyman, chief executive of the Family Planning Association, was upset that the doctors voted against expanding abortions those ways

"We are disappointed that the BMA has voted not to extend the role of performing abortions to other trained professionals and the premises where abortion takes place," she said.

As the country marks 40 years of legalized abortion under the Abortion Act of 1967, new government figures show there were 193,700 abortions in 2006, a 3.9 percent increase over the 186,400 in 2005. Those are the highest ever recorded.

The figures showed that 89 percent of the abortions were done on babies who were under 13 weeks gestation and 68 percent were less than 10 weeks into the pregnancy.

They also revealed that 32 percent of women having an abortion last year had already had a previous abortion. That percentage remains unchanged even though the British government spent more than $50 million promoting contraception.