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Guidance recommends abortion within 2 weeks of asking

by Cara Bentley

NICE say the health service should aim to provide women who are considering an abortion with an initial appointment within 1 week of requesting one and to have the termination within 1 week of that appointment.

They, along with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, want to offer greater choice between a medical or a surgical abortion and the different stages of pregnancy and advise that women should be able to refer themselves to termination of pregnancy services, rather than having to book an appointment with their GP first.

NICE argue that this removes an unnecessary step in the process, allowing women to access treatment more quickly.

Spokesperson for Right to Life, Clare McCarthy said: "The recommended changes from NICE and the RCOG will rush women through the abortion process and provide less medical supervision and support for women. In 2017, in the UK 197,533 babies in the womb were aborted. This does not appear to be enough for the abortion lobby and head of the RCOG, Lesley Regan, who has said she wants to see abortion as easy as getting 'your bunions sorted'.

"Instead, they have brought forward these recommended changes which would mean less time for women to explore options other than abortion and could see our already very high abortion rate increase even further.

McCarthy argued that a ComRes poll found 79% of the the UK are in favour of introducing consideration periods to ensure that a women thinking about abortion has had enough time to look at all of the options available. 

"The guidelines should address the reasons women seek out abortion services in such high numbers in this country, often because of; vulnerability, isolation, lack of financial or emotional support, or pressure from a partner. Simply rushing women through the abortion process does nothing to address the problems these women already face and would only later compound these issues if coupled with post-abortion regret.

"This is a reckless approach to healthcare. Women's safety and mental or physical health should never be potentially compromised for the sake of expediency or convenience."

Professor Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said: "These guidelines will help to address significant barriers that women experience across the country, by reducing waiting times and making it easier for them to access services.

"It's also absolutely vital that more healthcare professionals are trained in this key area of women's healthcare to ensure services are sustainable in the long-term."

Katie Brookfield, a theology graduate who writes about and researches sexual ethics within the church, told Premier: "The decision to end a pregnancy is incredibly distressing for any woman, and it is not a process that should be prolonged unnecessarily. This guidance is not about rushing women through the process, but making it less traumatic when they have made the decision.

"However, I do strongly believe that we should also have a focus on ensuring women are not in positions where they have to make a decision to end a pregnancy. This includes dealing with violence against women (leading to forced pregnancies), educating people on contraceptive methods and making these free and easily accessible."

NICE's full guidance is here. 

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