British Doctors Slammed for Unscientific Abortion Guidelines

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 28, 2011   |   2:03PM   |   London, England

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is getting more criticism over draft guidelines supposedly providing doctors, nurses and counselors with instructions on how to talk to women about abortion.

The guidelines, which have already been panned for ignoring the link between abortion and breast cancer, contain other scientific flaws.

The guidelines say “Women should be advised that abortion is generally safer than continuing a pregnancy to term,” even though abortion comes with a host of medical and mental health concerns and has been found to cause more problems for women than childbirth.

Other black marks in the draft guidelines include the false claim that the right of conscientious objection to abortion only applies to doctors (line 1044) or only to doctors and nurses (line 1084) – when it applies to any person called upon to participate in an abortion; the contemplation of enforced abortions on some 16-17 year-olds (1260 – 1262); and failing to require that women be informed of alternatives to abortion and how to obtain such help (1438). The guidelines also fail to suggest that doctors should be wary of situations where women seek abortions on unlawful grounds (e.g. for social sex selection), or where women seek abortion under duress (1494).

Paul Tully, the general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), a leading pro-life group in England, told today the guidelines are “grossly inept.”

“The RCOG draft guidelines play down the physical and psychological side-effects of abortion, discounting the real and serious damage that abortion can cause. Ireland, where abortion is banned, scores the world’s best record in maternal health year after year. Chile, where abortion is also banned, has the lowest maternal mortality rate in Latin America,” he explained.

Tully said, “The guidelines are very badly drafted, as they have totally confused Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and totally misunderstood the legal positions in both jurisdictions. This is grossly inept, as such misinformation could be extremely dangerous if followed.”

“The RCOG has long since been an extension of the pro-abortion lobby. Its draft guidelines reflect that institutional bias and should therefore be binned,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Melanie Philips, in an opinion column at the London Daily Mail, also criticizes the guidelines.

“You really do have to wonder which is the more extreme effect of our politically correct culture — the way in which it brutalizes people, or the way it turns them into cerebrally-challenged automatons?” she writes. “Both attributes were on startling display in the latest piece of advice to emanate from no less august a body than the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.”

“This guidance, intended for all doctors, nurses and counselors advising women contemplating having an abortion, said such women should be told that terminating a pregnancy was safer than having a baby.” Philips says. “To which one can only ask: safer for whom, precisely? Not for the baby, certainly. This is not meant to be a flip comment. For the point is that these doctors seemed to have totally lost sight of some basic humanity here.”

“Experts have said that although some progress has been made in reducing Britain’s world-beating rate of teenage pregnancies, abortion is increasingly being seen as the major method of contraception for many young women.” the continues. “These figures are horrifying. Abortion should be a last resort. The law was framed as a balancing act between different levels of harm. The destruction of the foetus could be undertaken only if the harm to the mother of having the baby was considered too great.”

“But to imply that having a baby is a dangerous procedure is a disreputable piece of scare mongering. It amounts to the psychological manipulation of women who are already in a vulnerable state. It is a form of bullying and a gross abuse of medical power,” she concludes. [related]

“Nor is that all. The guidance also says that women who are deciding whether to have an abortion must be told that most do not suffer any psychological harm from the procedure.

“But rates of psychiatric illness and self-harm in women are higher among those who have had an abortion. While cause and effect cannot be proved, it defies common sense to say that there is no connection,” she writes. “Indeed, according to consultant psychiatrist Professor Patricia Casey, there are more than 30 studies showing an association between abortion and psychological trauma.”