British Medical Assn Rejects Making Pro-Life Docs Disclose Abortion Stance

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 10, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Medical Assn Rejects Making Pro-Life Docs Disclose Abortion Stance

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 10
, 2008

London, England ( — Pro-life physicians in England won a second victory as doctors at the British Medical Association’s annual conference narrowly rejected requiring them to disclose to patients that they won’t do abortions or make referrals for them. The vote comes on the heels of a GMC decision backing a pro-life doctor.

The General Medical Council guidelines say doctors should disclose up front the kinds of medical procedures they won’t do — including abortions or in-vitro fertilization treatments.

But physicians at the BMA conference in Edinburgh voted on a 50.6% to 49.4% vote against a measure to "make every effort to inform patients in advance, for example through practice leaflets" about which doctors won’t engage in the practices.

The GMC guidelines suggest doctors make that information available but doesn’t compel them to do so.

The motion against pro-life doctors came from Evan Harris, a Liberal Democrat member of parliament who frequently promotes removing any restrictions on abortion, according to a Channel 4 news report.

He said that doctors have the legal right to refuse to be involved in practices like abortion and euthanasia, but he believes they should be forced to tell every patient that’s the case before treating them.

Harris put forward another motion restricting conscientious objections to in-vitro fertilization, abortion and euthanasia.

That motion received the support of physicians on a 61.2% to 38.8% vote.

Just days ago, the General Medical Council cleared a pro-life doctor of any wrongdoing after abortion advocates accused her of bullying her patients.

Dr. Tammie Downes says she’s only guilty of looking out for the best interests of mother and child when she talked women patients out of abortions. The GMC investigated Downes after complaints from a pro-abortion physician upset by her actions.

Downes has practiced medicine for 13 years and says she would readily talk to women about abortion alternatives, including keeping the baby.

Through her efforts, she says one-third of her patients in crisis pregnancy situations didn’t have an abortion and credits the counseling with saving at least eight babies.

The GMC found that Downes did not breach its medical and ethical guidelines with the counseling and the decision prevents her from being removed from the medical register of licensed physicians.

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