Dr Peter Saunders: Abortion must be a more serious matter than taking out tonsils and bunions

A leading doctor has called for abortions to be decriminalised and made much more freely available.

Professor Lesley Regan (pictured here), president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), has said that abortions should be treated no differently from other ‘medical procedures’ – including something as simple as removing a bunion.

Next Friday the RCOG General Council will hold a ballot to decide whether the College should formally back total decriminalisation, which would put further pressure on the Government to overhaul the law.

The doctors’ union (the BMA), the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the ‘We Trust Women’ campaign by abortion industry leaders have already signalled their support for such a move.

Professor Regan said there had been a ‘societal shift’, particularly among medical professionals.

Of this there is no doubt.

The Hippocratic Oath, which graduating doctors used to take, says, ‘I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked nor suggest such counsel, nor in like manner will I give a woman a pessary to produce abortion.’ So most doctors today, by their complicity in abortion, are in direct breach of it, which is ironically the main reason the oath has fallen out of use.

The Declaration of Geneva (1948), adopted by the World Medical Association after World War II, originally read, ‘I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception, even against threat I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity’.

Perhaps most striking of all, the BMA affirmed in 1947 that ‘although there have been many changes in medicine, the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath cannot change’ and added that ‘co-operation in the destruction of life by murder, suicide and abortion’ was ‘the greatest crime’.

How times have changed.

From being the greatest protectors of innocent human life just 70 years ago, it seems that doctors have now become abortion's greatest proponents and facilitators.

Last year more than 200,000 abortions were carried out in Great Britain; one in every five pregnancies ended in abortion. Each one was authorised by two doctors and carried out by another – the former were largely members of the BMA and the latter either qualified or trainee members of the RCOG.

In total, doctors in this country have intentionally ended the lives of more than 8.5million unborn children since the Abortion Act was passed in 1967, 50 years ago this year. That is five times the combined population of Glasgow and Birmingham.

Furthermore, no fewer than 98 per cent of these abortions were carried out on mental health grounds, although there is no evidence that the continuance of a pregnancy poses any greater risk to the mental health of a mother than an abortion.

In other words, as I have argued before on this blog, and on national media, 98 per cent of abortions in Britain are technically illegal. And the doctors who authorise them are knowingly making false statements on statutory documents and thereby perjuring themselves.

Abortion is still illegal in Britain under the Offences against the Person Act. What the Abortion Act did was to make it admissible only when a limited number of criteria applied.

But the law in Britain is largely flouted by doctors – with loose interpretations, unsigned forms, sex-selection abortions and bullying of conscientious objectors – and one of the main private abortion providers, Marie Stopes International (MSI), has been under investigation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for substandard practice.

This situation exists because, although on paper the abortion law is still restricted, in practice when its boundaries are crossed doctors close ranks, the police do not investigate, the CPS does not prosecute, the courts do not convict and parliamentarians turn a blind eye.

Professor Regan thinks that abortion should be treated like the removal of tonsils or a bunion, requiring informed consent only.



At the moment, she says, ‘it’s the only medical procedure which requires two doctors’ signatures’.

But abortion is part of the criminal law precisely because the baby in the womb is a human being who, with its mother, deserves legal protection.

In other words the law upholds the key principle that ‘both lives matter’.

It is because every abortion takes a human life that abortion has been treated as legally different from any other procedure carried out by doctors.

Regan, and others like her, do not attribute any status to human life before birth. This is why it is not surprising that she holds the views she does – because, in spite of the fact that her medical knowledge should lead her in the opposite direction, she sees the unborn baby as simply ‘tissue’, not as an individual human life.

Accordingly, it is not at all surprising that she wants abortion ‘decriminalised’.

Regan is president of the RCOG, whose members, like those of the BMA and RCM, are knee-deep in abortion. We don’t know how many abortions Regan has personally performed in 30 years as a practising gynaecologist but it would be very interesting to find out.

Even if she has not been personally involved, it is not surprising that she would seek even less regulation and oversight for her colleagues than at present by pushing for abortion to be removed from the criminal law.

But how is this different from bankers asking for fraud to be decriminalised, taxi drivers seeking an end to speed limits, or tenants aiming to abolish rental contracts? Surely those who most stand to gain by a change in the law should have least say over how it is framed.

The law is there to protect the vulnerable from exploitation and abuse. In the case of the abortion law it aims to protect both women and their unborn children.

It is Parliament’s decision whether or not it should be changed – and they should be very wary of the ideological and other vested interests of professional groups (which are behaving like campaign groups) such as the BMA, RCOG and RCM.

It is still possible that the RCOG General Council will not follow Regan’s lead and vote instead to retain the status quo next week.

Peter Saunders

  • Elizabeth Smith

    I heard removal of a bunion was supposed to be extremely painful, and involving breaking the bones in your feet, so you have to learn to walk again.
    So not the best comparison, perhaps, particularly for someone who doesn’t want children at any price.
    Restrictions on abortion mean closing adoption, to my mind.

  • The Duke of Umberland, England

    Dr Saunders

    Prof Regan compares an abortion to removing a bunion.

    She is clearly not fit to be president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists – let alone a member.

  • gs_schweik

    Morals and the law continue to diverge…….

  • Reborn

    Obviously, there are far too many abortions.
    This is a matter of common decency & humanity, nothing to do with the supernatural
    concept of immortal souls & when they start their alleged existence.
    The original David Steel Act was decent & well intentioned & still makes good sense.
    The sheer obscenity of gender selected abortions was not considered 50 years ago,
    when we were still a country with 100% Western values – Judeo Christian & secular.
    Today, thanks to multiculturalism, aka cowardice, we have immigrant savages deliberately
    changing the gender balance within their own large & growing communities.
    The scandals of Rotherham etc will be repeated on a much larger scale with attractive,
    healthy indigenous girls being traded among themselves by unassimilated immigrants
    Hardly worthy of news on our politically correct MSM, but yet again, Mohammed/Mehmet is
    the top boys’ name in England.
    Two slightly different spellings for the same individual who made absolutely no contribution
    to Western civilisation & whose disciples are openly plotting, even advocating,
    our destruction.

    • Little Black Censored

      It was the substitution of “common decency and humanity” for “the supernatural
      concept of immortal souls & when they start their alleged existence” that brought the present slaughterhouse into being. David Steel’s decent and well-intentioned Act put a bomb under our immemorial tradition of respect for the sanctity of life. Common decency and humanity does not recognize the sanctity of anything.

  • PierrePendre

    The fight against abortion was lost and the fight to abolish hanging was won because our concepts of morality change as our religious and political positions change. Morality is not and never was something that is either absolute or fixed and in the age of relativism is infinitely malleable.

    Capital punishment and abortion are at contradictory ends of our view of the same question of the sanctity of life, upheld in the case of the former and dismissed in the case of the latter. Liberals, but not only them, have no difficulty in supporting both despite the contradiction.

    This is possible because of the human ability to hold something to be objectively wrong but to do it just the same for whatever reason, which might be as trivial as mere personal convenience. Whether or not we believe – as abortion supporters do not – that life begins at the moment of conception, it is purely arbitrary to decide that abortion is fine at week 12 and illegal at week 13.

    Once you accept the principle of abortion, there is no logical reason other than squeamishness (or perhaps some residual conscience) to outlaw termination at any stage of pregnancy.

    Doctors have always made life and death choices despite the Hippocratic oath which they all swear. US doctors who refuse to take part in legal executions have no qualms about carrying out abortions. Medical euthanasia is already practiced in Holland and Belgium and will eventually be legalised in the United Kingdom and the rest of the West because it will become a socio-economic necessity.

    We will reconcile ourselves to this despite our objective moral doubts just as we have reconciled ourselves to abortion and the BMA et al. will be on board, Hippocratic oath or no.

    • The Duke of Umberland, England

      Equally:

      Once you accept the principle of abortion, there is no logical reason other than squeamishness (or perhaps some residual conscience) to outlaw termination at any stage of life.

      • Fred Uttlescay

        There are families trying for normal children after a number of abortions for Hurlers syndrome. Surely you wouldn’t deny them that right.

        • The Duke of Umberland, England

          First of all they don’t have a legal right.

          Secondly, abortion cannot be justified against the disabled.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            They do have a legal right, up to 24 weeks. It is perfectly justifiable in the case of that disease.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Try reading Dr Saunders’ article.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            I have read it, the guy is a religious loony.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Then, do you withdraw your assertion that it’s a legal right?

            If not, why not?

          • Fred Uttlescay

            It is legal up to 24 weeks.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Your response has deviated now from its initial assertion: ‘They do have a legal right’, when clearly no such right exists.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            Same thing. I don’t indulge in semantics.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            You’re wasting people’s time.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            So are you.

          • Little Black Censored

            Do the words “religious loony” go together in your mind?

          • Fred Uttlescay

            The worse the religious affliction is the greater the effect on the sanity of the believer.

      • Little Black Censored

        That day is coming. Murderers are set free while more and more of the others are murdered.

      • Simon Platt

        “How many months is it now since conception” “Oh it’d be, em … Trevor, how old were you last birthday?” https://youtu.be/AlN2ldCdOQ0?t=6m47s

        • The Duke of Umberland, England

          Superb!

          I’ll save it for this evening.

    • Rick Bradford

      I would dispute there being no reason other than squeamishness to outlaw termination at any stage of pregnancy once the principle has been established that abortion before (say) 12 weeks is acceptable. The issue depends, not on a philosophical debate about when life starts, but the practical matter of viability.

      • The Duke of Umberland, England

        Viability cannot determine the status of the child, as viability depends on technical equipment and the competence of medical teams.

        If it did so, them the status of a child would be a matter determined by post-code lottery.

        • Little Black Censored

          That is an argument for putting to death on any one who cannot manage an independent life: children, invalids, people who live on charity.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            I agree.

      • paul parmenter

        I thought viability was very much part of the debate about when life starts.

        • In the UK, maybe. In the US much recently has depended on when the fetus feels pain, which is circa 12 weeks. Most of us pro lifers, here in the US, actually agree with Rees-Mogg, but being practical sorts we think a ban after 12 weeks is better than no ban at all. The battle continues, and a majority of Americans are now pro life, anti euthanasia, and OK with ‘safe, legal, and rare’ capital punishment. And in most states if you kill a pregnant woman intentionally, you will be charged with two counts of murder, as it has always been.

          Without the Right to Life, all the other rights are rather meaningless.

    • Little Black Censored

      Capital punishment is the judicial putting to death of a convicted criminial. Abortion is the putting to death of an innocent person whose existence is inconvenient to somebody else. A bit like murder, really, for which the guilty used to be executed.

  • RPM

    A rare insect living in the path of a new motorway proposal has more rights than the human unborn.

    • Fred Uttlescay

      Of course, because the insect is rare and humans are all too common. We have an abortion law which is a good compromise.

      • The Duke of Umberland, England

        Of course, because the Jew is rare and Germans are all too common. We have racial laws which are a good compromise.

        • Fred Uttlescay

          Eh?

  • Rick Bradford

    Effective and convenient male contraception could only reduce the rate of abortions – possibly dramatically.

    • The Duke of Umberland, England

      It hasn’t.

      • Little Black Censored

        And free contraception was supposed to reduce abortions, which it didn’t.

  • UKCitizen

    All part of the post-modernist, Marxist trope that you as an individual mean nothing, you are inter-changeable with any other human being, all are equal and therefore all are nothing, just flesh to be moulded for the good of the collective.

    • Phil R

      Or murdered for the good of the collective

      Atheist heaven

  • David

    Murdering the innocent unborn, for our convenience, is wickedness indeed ! Only murderers should be killed.As Christianity is rejected by the west evil grows.