British Midwives Rebel Against Pro-Abortion Leader
British midwives have reacted angrily to the decision of the head of the Royal College of Midwives to sign up to a pro-abortion campaign without consulting its members. Hundreds have signed an open letter distancing themselves from the decision. The chief executive of the Royal College, Prof Cathy Warwick, is also chairman of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Britain’s largest abortion provider.
The midwives’ trade union has defended its decision to back a BPAS campaign seeking to allow women to have abortions up to birth for any reason, to limit the conscience rights of midwives, and to extend the 1968 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.
Lord Alton of Liverpool described the decision by the Royal College as a “complete travesty” that brings the “noble midwifery profession into disrepute.”
In a statement, Lord Alton said: “This decision by the activists who control the Royal College of Midwives - and who are not themselves midwives - to use the Royal College to campaign for the legalisation of abortion up-to-birth is a complete travesty. It brings the noble midwifery profession into disrepute. It underlines how irrational the push for abortion rights has become when those responsible for bringing new human lives into the world should now be coerced into killing babies at the moment of birth.”
Abortion up to birth, as demanded by the BPAS campaign, would include sex-selective abortion and abortion of babies with disabilities. Only China, North Korea, Vietnam and Canada have such permissive abortions laws. It also comes at a time when, according to a 2012 poll, only 2 per cent of British women want the time limit to be extended to more than 24 weeks in contrast to 59 per cent who favoured a reduction in time limits.
Many hundreds of of midwives and around 15,000 others have already signed a “Not in our name” petition accusing Professor Warwick of a “betrayal” of the profession.
Sally Carson, a midwife from Chester wrote in The Spectator: “The RCM’s position has absolutely no mandate. It has no basis in the purposes of the Royal College, the ethic of midwifery, the views of the vast majority of women, or the consensus of midwives. Rather, it is utterly unrepresentative of all these things. That is why I signed the Not In Our Name open letter and am supporting the accompanying public petition and campaign: to state publicly that neither the support of the BPAS campaign nor the new position paper speaks in our name as midwives and as members of the RCM.”
Although she has previously admitted that midwifery and abortion “don’t quite go together”, Prof Warwick has, so far, refused to back down. And in remarks likely to further anger midwives, she described how she seeks to “educate” those who are too “focused” on women having babies rather than abortions. She also discussed current abortion law and “how we get round it”. Professor Warwick was a BPAS trustee from 2007 to 2008 – stopping when she became chief of the RCM – and then returned as a trustee in April 2010, before becoming BPAS chairman in March 2015.