Royal College to threaten medics with sanctions for reporting illegal abortions

Medics may face sanctions if they report to the police a mother for killing her late-term baby, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has said.

In soon-to-be-published RCOG guidance, healthcare professionals are told not to “call the police” if they believe an illegal abortion has taken place, “or face potential fitness to practise proceedings”.

Abortion in Britain is legal for most reasons up to 24 weeks, and is available up to birth for children deemed to have a disability. But legal protections still exist for the unborn in cases where the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply.


Attempting to justify the policy, RCOG President Dr Ranee Thakar said: “We firmly believe it is never in the public interest to investigate and prosecute women who have sought to end their own pregnancy.”

She added: “We hope this new best practice guidance gives healthcare professionals clarity around their legal and professional obligations.

“It is vital that they understand what is expected of them and the potential consequences of breaching patient confidentiality.”

In relation to illegal abortions, the Crown Prosecution Service responded: “Our prosecutors have a duty to ensure that laws set by Parliament are properly considered and applied when making difficult charging decisions.”

Legal protections

Last year, pro-abortion activists used the sad case of a mother jailed for taking DIY abortion pills when she had been pregnant for approximately 33 weeks to call for abortion up to birth.

The woman, Carla Foster, obtained the pills under the DIY home abortion rules for England after deceiving a nurse from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) into thinking she was seven weeks pregnant. She later gave birth to a stillborn daughter.

In a rare prosecution for abortion, Foster was convicted under Section 58 of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act, which prohibits “administering drugs or using instruments to procure an abortion”.

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