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25 May 2016

One born every minute, one aborted every three: the progressive dream?

One born every minute, one aborted every three: the progressive dream?

The recent statement from the Royal College of Midwives in which they outline their position on abortion is inconceivable to many people. The RCM, without consulting their members, have aligned themselves with the British Pregnancy Advisory Service's "We Trust Women" campaign, which calls for the decriminalisation of abortion across the UK.

The chief executive of the RCM, Cathy Warwick, claims that abortion is part of the role of a midwife. The public are asked to accept and believe that morality has nothing to do with abortion, which is a healthcare need that concerns only the individual woman and her doctor. That Cathy Warwick is also chair of BPAS, the leading provider of abortions in the UK, is seen by many as a conflict of interest, and there have been calls for her resignation.

Currently any woman in the UK who has an abortion outside of the parameters permissible by law commits a crime. Those who want to remove this legislation claim it's about women's rights and that the commonplace nature of abortion – one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime – makes criminalisation of abortion a nonsense. Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS, was recently quoted as saying: "The ability to end a pregnancy has enabled women to live their lives in the way that they see fit and bear children at the time they think is right."

The law doesn't seek to criminalise women; its purpose is to strike a balance between the health, life and freedoms of the woman and the protection of the unborn. The law, particularly in Northern Ireland, recognises that two lives are present. The campaign to legalise abortion seeks to privatise the value of life. Decriminalisation grants the unborn protection only in so far as it's the property of its mother.

Decriminalisation would potentially allow for any woman to have an abortion at any stage of pregnancy for any reason. To hear the representatives of those charged with caring for women and their unborn children in pregnancy and then overseeing the safe delivery of those very same children, now call for the removal of all legal protection for the unborn is deeply concerning. Midwives, whose entire profession exists because women get pregnant and unborn children are a physical reality, are being asked to place no value whatsoever on 50 per cent of their patients until the woman acknowledges them as being worthy.  

The RCM has fallen into the fallacy that to be pro-choice is to be pro-women. Surely their role is to be pro-both, and only to advocate abortion where it's a medical necessity.

It's inexcusable and abhorrent that the extension of women's rights is being indissolubly linked with the erosion of the right to life of unborn children. Now, women holding the power of life or death over their children is framed as a victory for equality.

Family planning, the right to choose the number and spacing of your children is a human right, but the deliberate ending of the life of the unborn is not. The United Nations Family Planning Association states that abortion is not and should never be promoted as a method of family planning.

A petition has been launched, Not In Our Name, calling on the RCM to reconsider its position. So far more than 38,000 have signed their name. Please do show your support and share with your friends. 

Equality and freedom for women should not rest on their right to end the life of their unborn. If this is the progressive dream then it has fundamentally failed women and the next generation.