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RCOG Slammed for Sham Consultation on Abortion

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For Immediate Release

22 February 2011


RCOG Slammed for Sham Consultation on Abortion

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has come under sustained criticism over its new draft abortion guidelines and the ‘consultation’ that is being undertaken to review them.

The guidelines draw a number of conclusions about fetal awareness, conscientious objection and the long-term health risks of abortion which appear to be inaccurate and open to serious challenge on the basis of clinical evidence. The RCOG working group has completely ignored the findings of a landmark study recently published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, that women who abort are 30% more likely to develop mental health problems than those who don’t, and instead has relied on a highly criticised review by the American Psychological Association. They also make no mention of the fact that the Royal College of Psychiatry is currently carrying out a major review of the subject, the results of which are still awaited.

There have also been concerns over the lack of transparency and undue haste surrounding the process by which the new guidelines are being revised. The latest revision has been undertaken by a ‘multi-professional group’ which consists of 18 members, eleven of whom are abortionists and two of whom are major abortion abortion providers. The participants are almost exclusively ‘pro-choice’.

In publishing the draft report on their website on 21 January, the RCOG forgot to tell stakeholders that the consultation period had begun and allowed only twenty one working days for comment before the deadline for responses. Very few people were aware of the consultation or the peer review process. Most now have very little opportunity to make a meaningful response by the deadline. After protests by Nadine Dorries MP the deadline has now been extended by one week.

Government guidelines for public consultation recommend a period of twelve weeks. As the RCOG guidelines will be the base of Government policy and two members of the group are from the Department of Health, one would have expected at least twelve weeks to have been adhered to.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “One wonders if those who drafted this guidance had the best interests of women at heart. These draft guidelines have been rushed through in an underhand manner with the support of major abortion providers. The conclusions in the report are very much open to challenge.The RCOG has been heavily criticized in the past for underplaying the physical and psychological consequences of abortion for women and this new document appears to substantiate that criticism.”

ENDS.

For further information contact:

Andrea Minichiello Williams: 07712 591 164

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