Britain is staring down the barrel of an abortion crisis, because fewer and fewer doctors are willing to do the procedure. According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, distaste with performing abortions combined with a growing number of doctors who refuse on ethical and religious grounds means that many young doctors are opting out of abortions.
Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which carries out a quarter of all abortions performed in England, says: “There is a real crisis looming. Unless we can address the problem and motivate doctors to train in abortion, we may well face a situation in five years’ time in which women’s access to abortion is severely restricted. It is our biggest headache.”
According to the Independent newspaper, a key factor is “the dinner party test”: ” gynaecologists who specialise in fertility treatment creating babies for childless couples are almost universally revered — but no one boasts of being an abortionist.” The RCOG is very worried about the situation. Although it recognises a right to conscientious objection, it says that “careful workforce planning” will be needed to enable on-going abortion services.
Abortion in Britain is far less politicised than in the US, where the culture wars are said to produce cadres of committed abortionists. However, across the Atlantic, despite widespread public support for abortion and increasing demand, being an abortion doctor is a low-status and unglamorous job.
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