RCOG Statement on the BMA Medical Ethics Committee Briefing on First Trimester Abortions
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) welcomes the debate proposed in the briefing paper. In general the view of the RCOG is that the current Abortion law meets the need and does not inhibit access to abortion services in this country. Standards of care, within the Act, are clearly laid out in the RCOG Guideline "The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion".
The RCOG believes that women must be provided with appropriate and adequate information to help in their decision making. This includes advice offered pre- and post abortion so that support is provided throughout and women have recourse to a team of health professionals comprising doctors, nurses and counsellors.
The College understands while some feel that it should no longer be necessary to require two doctors to sign the form, but there are occasions, particularly in late pregnancy, where this requirement reflects the difficulties and responsibilities around helping a woman reach a decision.
There are additional important issues to do with the provision and place of services, including medical (non-surgical) methods. Medical methods of abortion are carried out in only 24% of women seeking an abortion in England, when evidence suggests that where a choice is available, the uptake would be 60-70% of women.
A further approach, supported by the College is the development of a national (NICE) Guideline addressing all of the issues, and based around the RCOG recommendations.
Read the Briefing Paper on the BMA website at www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/Content/Firsttrimesterabortion