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Law professor suggests midwives should carry out abortions

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A law professor who was granted £500,000 of taxpayers' money to write a biographical study on the 1967 Abortion Act, has suggested that midwives should carry out abortions.

Sally Sheldon, a law professor at the University of Kent, claims that the Act has been misinterpreted, in saying that only doctors could perform surgical abortions.

She says that allowing nurses and midwives to perform abortions would save the NHS money and speed up services.

Radical abortion stance

Sally Sheldon is a trustee of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Britain's largest abortion provider.

She contributed to Diana Johnson's bill to decriminalise abortion, which had its first reading in the House of Commons last month. She has also previously expressed support for 'gender-abortion' and has been campaigning for abortion for 20 years. She describes the 1967 Abortion Act as "a remnant of the attitude of a previous age".

Last week, it emerged that the Arts and Humanities Research Council granted her £512,000 to write a 'biographical study' on the Act.

'Would be lawful'

Writing in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, Professor Sheldon said the assumption that only doctors could perform abortions was "unfounded".

She said: "On the contrary, it would be lawful for appropriately trained nurses or midwives, acting as part of a multi-disciplinary team, to carry out vacuum aspiration procedures."

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists backed her comments, saying the findings should lead to a wider review.

'Midwives are desperately worried'

Conservative MP Maria Caulfield, a former nurse, said that she would raise the issue with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

She said: "Midwives are desperately worried that there is a drive to make abortion easier and they will be called upon to carry out these surgical procedures.

"They are feeling very pressured. One minute they are being asked to save lives, the next to carry out abortions."

Lord Alton, a Crossbench peer, said: "Women placed into the care of a midwife may have their confidence undermined if they know the midwife is also involved in ending life."

Midwife Lucy Lovell, from Gloucestershire, said: "I wouldn't be happy to do procedures like that and I do not think it should be part of a midwife's role."

Midwives forced to comply with agenda

This is not the first time that campaigners have tried to force midwives to comply with abortion.

Last year, the Royal College of Midwives signed up to a BPAS campaign to decriminalise abortion, without consulting the union's members.

The union's chief, Cathy Warwick, is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees for BPAS.

In response, a petition was signed by over 40,000 individuals, including hundreds of midwives, and Christian Concern and other campaigners called for Ms. Warwick to resign.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, midwife Ellinor Grimmark has been blacklisted for refusing to perform abortions as part of her job.

Earlier this month, the Swedish court ruled that the authorities had not "violated her freedom of expression and opinion" by refusing to employ her on three separate occasions.

Ms. Grimmark is being supported in her legal challenge by ADF International. 


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