Two pro-abortion columnists have expressed dismay at the recent move by the head of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) to back the complete liberalisation of abortion.
Writing in the Daily Mail Dr Max Pemberton – who has himself carried out abortions – said Cathy Warwick’s desire to scrap the current 24-week limit is ‘chilling’.
And in The Times, Libby Purves said Warwick’s disregard for the rights of the foetus led her to question her own feminism.
Dr Pemberton, an NHS psychiatrist as well as a columnist for the Mail, said he couldn’t understand “how anyone who knows the full facts about abortion could countenance such a grotesque idea”.
Admitting that he had “assisted in terminations” as part of his training, and that he “unreservedly” supports a woman’s right to choose”, he said “many doctors are uncomfortable about the current cut-off”.
“In the same hospital where we are trying to save a premature baby born at 23 weeks, a woman down the corridor is legally allowed to undergo a late-stage abortion on a foetus of the same gestation.”
He warned that it is “so chillingly easy to treat abortions as being like any other operation”, adding: “Cathy Warwick’s proposals chill my blood. If I were a midwife, she would be the last woman on earth I’d want to speak in my name.”
Writing in The Times Libby Purves expressed similar apprehensions about Warwick’s “shrugging” attitude to the destruction of unborn children.
Cathy Warwick’s proposals chill my blood.Dr Max Pemberton
Accepting “abortion on demand in the very early weeks” of pregnancy, the columnist argued that there is something “dismayingly ruthless” about an attitude which pits a woman’s ‘rights’ above those of an unborn child at all times.
She said that Warwick’s attitude is “all about the woman. The foetus has no rights; the father, even in a stable relationship, is not mentioned at all”, adding: “At which point I feel my feminism wavering.”
Cathy Warwick has faced strong criticism over the last week from midwives and the general public for backing a British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) campaign to change the law and allow abortion up to birth for any reason.
In addition to her RCM role, Warwick has been chairman of BPAS since 2014 – something Dr Peter Saunders, Chief Executive of the Christian Medical Fellowship, described as a “blatant conflict of interests”.
So far, hundreds of midwives have written to the RCM to object to her decision, aligning the RCM with the BPAS campaign and almost 40,000 people have signed a petition.