In May it came to light that for many years the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has been inextricably linked with the leading provider of abortions in the UK, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS). (1) So much so that Cathy Warwick, the RCM's CEO is also the Chair of BPAS. This revelation followed on from the RCM's public support (2) for the BPAS led campaign to 'decriminalise' abortion - ie removing the few legal safeguards that still exist and allowing abortion up to birth for any reason. (3)
As this story came to light, so did the (very quiet) publication of the updated RCM Position Statement on Abortion. (4) It made it clear that midwives were obliged to be involved in all aspects of the care of women undergoing a termination of pregnancy. They were only allowed to opt out of the specific clinical procedures related to the abortion itself on conscience grounds. This directly follows on from the ruling of the Supreme Court in the Glasgow Midwives case last year. (5)
These positions by the RCM were taken with no reference to the membership or to the college's governing body. MPs, members of the public and midwives have all been incensed. They have been roundly criticised.
(6) (7) Cathy Warwick has sought to defend this position. But, given that the body for the profession (most involved with ensuring the safe births of children) is so closely allied with pro-abortion lobby groups, this position is proving increasingly difficult to defend. There are calls for a reversal of the policy and for Warwick to step down from at least one of her posts.
That a body whose motto is vita donum dei (life is the gift of God) should be taking such a pro-abortion stance reflects the widespread drift (and, increasingly, active departure) from Christian values. It is time for midwives and others to stand up and challenge this reversal of such fundamental values.