LONDON (ChurchMilitant.com) - The leadership of England's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) is pushing the abortion agenda, despite an organized protest from more than 600 doctors.
On Friday, the RCOG council passed a statement calling for "the removal of criminal sanctions associated with abortion in the U.K." In England, abortions are illegal after 24 weeks, except in cases of rape, fetal abnormalities and risks to the mother's life. A woman seeking an abortion must have consultations with two doctors. Owing to England's tax-funded medical service, the consultations and abortion usually come at no expense to the client.
Bishop John Keenan of Paisley, Scotland addressed the heated controversy, according to a report in the Scotland Catholic Observer published Monday. The bishop warned of "an orchestrated and concerted campaign against the unborn," adding, "I pray for those good medics seeking to resist it."
"Could I suggest our own concerted effort in October to pray the Rosary for an end to abortion?" he asked.
In anticipation of Friday's vote by the RCOG council, a coalition of about 650 doctors signed a petition voicing their strong disagreement. Not all the doctors who signed were members of the college. The U.K.-based Daily Mail and The Sun had access to the petition, but the full text has not been made public.
The petition reads in part, "We represent a variety of positions on the issue of abortion but believe this motion is out of keeping with both our duties as responsible professionals and the expressed wishes of British women with regards to the legality and regulation of abortion."
Lesley Regan, head of the Council of the RCOG, said that getting an abortion should only require consultation with one doctor, just like a normal medical procedure. Killing an unborn child should be as easy as "getting your bunions sorted," she claimed.
In a Daily Mail op-ed, Max Pembleton, who identifies as "pro-choice," nonetheless called out Regan for sacrificing medical ethics in favor of political ideology. Pembleton argued that medical professionals must approach abortion with an acute awareness of the ongoing debates over ethics.
"Abortion for a great many people is a profound question and one that deserves our respect," he argued. "To them, terminating a pregnancy can never be regarded in the same way as removing a piece of deformed bone, to use Professor Regan's crass example. It is destroying a life."
Reporting on the controversy, The Sun put a subtle spin on English abortion regulations, claiming, "The 1967 Abortion Act, which is still in effect, means that abortions are illegal — unless the woman undergoing the procedure gets consent from two doctors." This misleading sentence is inspired by Regan's own comments about abortion in England. Regan had told the press, "At the moment it's illegal, it's a crime and it's the only medical procedure which requires two doctors' signatures."
This misrepresents England's abortion law as tight and restrictive. In fact, both England and the United Kingdom at large are known for being heavily pro-abortion. About a third of U.K. women undergo at least one abortion. And British abortion giant Marie Stopes boasts on its website that 91 percent of its abortions come at no cost, thanks to government funding through the National Health Service.
The RCOG is joining several other medical associations in backing the complete decriminalization of abortion. The Royal College of Midwives and the British Medical Association are already on board for removing the current handful of restrictions on abortion.