Recently, a controversial guidance has been issued by a group led by the Medical Director of MSI Reproductive Choices UK advising doctors against reporting illegal abortions to the police. Dr Jonathan Lord, a pro-abortion activist and the co-chair of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) Abortion Taskforce, is behind the guidance. He has consistently advocated attempts to fully decriminalize abortion, triggering much consternation.
On BBC Radio Four’s Today Programme, Dr. Lord defended this modification to the guidance, claiming that there’s a steep rise in investigations concerning illegal abortions. Although he admitted to a raise, he failed to disclose that this is tied to the introduction of the pills-by-post scheme, which allows women to obtain abortion pills without consulting a doctor face-to-face.
This has led to some women obtaining the pills well beyond the legal limit, often resulting in medical complications. Dr. Lord argued that those who report suspected cases of illegal abortions are ignoring their professional responsibilities. He also stated that cases like Carla Foster’s, who took abortion pills much later into her pregnancy and was then prosecuted, are “deeply distressing.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Duffy, a former Director of Marie Stopes International, believes that the solution to these problems is straightforward; rescinding the legal approval for abortion by phone and reinstating a mandatory in-person medical consultation. Ciarán Kelly, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute, also expressed his concerns about Dr. Lord’s campaign for decriminalization of abortion, saying the objective is more about widening the availability of abortion rather than ensuring women’s safety.
Some argue that this will lead to more late-stage abortions being conducted using pills, and more women ending up in the hospital due to complications, hence exposing them to more risk.