If you are a UK citizen, you have probably already heard about the recent furore concerning the Royal College of Midwives’ backing of a campaign to decriminalise abortion, which would effectively make it legal to abort up until birth for any reason.
Although shocking, it is not so surprising when you understand that the RCM’s chief, Cathy Warwick, is also Chairman for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service’s (BPAS’) Board of Trustees. BPAS, the UK’s leading abortion provider, is spearheading this campaign, ‘We Trust Women’. I wrote about it on this blog two months ago (which may also be of interest) after attending an event where it was discussed.
At work we covered the news of RCM’s backing the campaign last week, before it had really hit mainstream press. A number of people accused us of lying or making the story up. This week, however, it has been all over the news. The RCM did not consult its membership when deciding to back the campaign, provoking outrage from midwives and from the wider general public. A petition in protest, which you can sign here, has reached around 36,000 signatures so far.
Notwithstanding the fact that supporting abortion up to birth is the very antithesis of midwifery, conscientious objection to participating in abortion procedures would become very difficult were the policy ever to become law.
Naturally, Cathy Warwick, alongside BPAS head Ann Furedi, is now pandering to the press insisting that the campaign is ‘nothing to do with being for or against abortion’. Yet in decriminalising abortion you are effectively advocating for the procedure on demand. They believe abortion should have the same requirements as any other medical treatment. This is, at heart, simply another way of trying to further normalise the practice and downplay its human aspect.
Although they argue that women usually do not want late-term abortions, Furedi, Warwick and the campaign’s other supporters still believe that removing the restrictions is somehow necessary. They also argue quite vehemently that under the 1967 Abortion Act, it’s difficult to obtain an abortion. But with over 500 abortions carried out every day in the UK, this statement is very hard to believe.
Of course, these women’s arguments are dressed up in attractive language like ‘choice’ and ‘control over one’s own reproductive rights’.
The arguments don’t add up now any more than they did the night I sat listening to them promote the campaign, back in March.
I wrote down some of the things they said that night. They included comments like “abortion is necessary for a modern society” and “we need abortion to back up birth control”.
One girl bravely asked whether removing restrictions would include making it legal to abort on the grounds of the child’s gender (a practice that sadly is carried out often in India and China). Unsurprisingly, the panel found a way to dodge that question.
That these women are now claiming that the campaign is not about being ‘for or against abortion’ is almost amusing.
Most interesting in all of this is that BPAS and the RCM seem genuinely a little taken aback at the backlash they have faced this week.
I remember the night of the campaign launch, they seemed confident that only the ‘religious lobby’ really opposed them. I remember thinking at the time “Hm we’ll see”. Of course, they may have only been saying that to win over their audience, but anyhow, the public have demonstrated this week that their belief was vastly untrue. The public as a whole does not want abortion restrictions removed, whatever they may have to say about the law as it currently stands.
I am glad the truth is being uncovered, as the campaign will face stronger opposition now the public are aware of it and see it as relevant.
Mostly, I pray for the eyes of these women to be opened to the magnitude of what they are proposing, and for a dramatic change of heart.
‘For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.’ – Luke 8:17