The Public Policy team met with NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) in June to discuss their new draft guidance on the Termination of Pregnancy. We expressed concern that no guidelines are currently included that would ensure women have an opportunity to discuss other options and choices, or be told of alternatives to abortion at every stage of the abortion pathway. Instead, the emphasis is on making access to abortion even quicker and easier than it already is. It includes guidance on providing self-referrals for abortion; phone consultations; medical terminations at home at later gestation; abortions in 'a range of community settings' (undefined by the guidance), and guidance on maximising the role of nurses and midwives. The guidance also, incorrectly in our view, states that women must be reassured that abortion does not increase their risk of long-term health problems such as mental health issues.
A detailed written response to NICE by Philippa Taylor, CMF's Head of Public Policy can be found on the website at cmf.li/NICE_Abortion_gdln along with the department's other recent written submissions (cmf.org.uk/advocacy/submissions), on commercial genomics, abortion for fatal fetal abnormality and divorce law reform.
Members who would like to keep abreast of the department's work on current ethical issues and hear of relevant events to attend can sign up to our quarterly 'Ethics and Public Policy E-Newsletter' at cmf.org.uk/advocacy/enews. The May 2019 edition of the newsletter can be found at cmf.li/2KqJYif