Abortion safer than childbirth: new advice your doctor could soon be giving 2

Abortion: a subject guaranteed to divide opinion and raise emotion, and the latest research from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is unlikely to change that.

The draft guidance on “what women need to know” will offer the advice that an abortion is generally safer than continuing a pregnancy to term, and that most women who have abortions do not suffer any long-term psychological trauma.

Yet the research has been strongly criticised, not least because two of the 18 who provided the research represent abortion clinics, yet, allegedly, not one psychiatrist was consulted.

Critics have called on the RCOG to provide hard evidence to back up their claims, adding that many complications caused by abortion are recorded in accident and emergency records and other statistics, and are thus missing from the official count.

Leaving personal feelings aside (as far as possible) for the moment, it would be hard to disagree that carrying a pregnancy to full term has the potential for more physical complications than aborting within the early weeks. Yet it seems that the psychological impact has been glossed over.

The RCOG claims that “although abortion can be associated with a range of feelings, long-term feelings of guilt, sadness and regret appear only to linger in a minority of women.”

Dr Peter Saunders, from the Christian Medical Fellowship, spelled it out in no uncertain terms.

“The RCOG has been heavily criticised in the past for underplaying the physical and psychological consequences of abortion for women and this new document appears to continue in that vein.”

“Asking this group to comment objectively and honestly about the physical and psychological consequences of abortion for women is like asking Philip Morris or British American Tobacco to review the health consequences of smoking or Macdonald’s to outline the adverse effects of fast food consumption.”

Former GP and lecturer in medical ethics at St Mary’s University College, Trevor Stammers, said that the RCOG had ignored one of the most authoritative studies into the psychiatric effects of abortion.

“When [the RCOG] can’t refute the evidence, they have just ignored it. This is an absolutely disgraceful stitch up that they have forced through quickly.”

Many have branded these guidelines an absurdly liberal agenda.

Bringing arguments about abortion to the surface again aren’t helpful, but the least we can expect is that comprehensive evidence-based advice is being given to those medical professionals offering advice to women at an often highly vulnerable and stressful time.

What do you think? Are these guidelines helpful, and should they be implemented, or do they unfairly promote abortion over childbirth?

2 thoughts on “Abortion safer than childbirth: new advice your doctor could soon be giving

  • Andrew Weatherby

    To anyone considering abortion due to an unplanned pregnancy:

    I am a male who went through a termination some years ago with my ex partner.
    When we found out she was pregnant we had split up and were not getting on at all, also neither of us were financially secure – we decided on an abortion.

    Even 10 years on, I still have deep feelings of regret and sadness about what happened.

    So my advice is even in less than perfect circumastances please dont have an abortion, once its happened it cannot be undone.

    I am happy now and have found a wonderfull girlfriend but sometimes I do think back and think that we made the wrong decision because at the end of the day life is sacred and once a woman has become pregnant I think its too late to decide you dont want the baby.

    so my advice is please have the baby, im sure you can make do, its better than having to live with feelings of guilt or regret for the rest of your life.

    and dont listen to what other people (parents / friends) say.
    Its upto you and your partner only. Also dont force each other to do anything they dont want to do.

    So like I said even if the situation doesnt seem right for a child remember that life is sacred!! – so please have the baby, you will manage.

    having the baby is the right thing to do.

    I hope my advice is usefull to someone out there : )

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