The RCGP has stated officially that it supports the decriminalisation of abortion across the UK
The Royal College of GPs’ (RCGP) UK Council has passed a motion to support the decriminalisation of abortion.
The RCGP says that the procedure should be governed by medical regulatory frameworks, not the criminal justice system.
More than 4,400 RCGP members from across the UK responded to the consultation. They were asked whether the RCGP should have a position on the decriminalisation of abortion and what position they thought the College should take.
Sixty-two per cent said that the RCGP should support the decriminalisation of abortion; 19% said that the RCGP should oppose the decriminalisation of abortion; 15% said that the RCGP should have a neutral position on decriminalisation, and four per cent chose not to respond.
Of the 21 college faculties that responded to the consultation, none said that the RCGP should oppose the decriminalisation of abortion, 11 supported the motion for the RCGP to support the decriminalisation of abortion, two said that the college should be neutral on the issue and eight abstained.
The College will now work with partners across the health sector, including the BMA, the Royal College of Nursing, Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health, the Royal College of Midwives and others, to call for the decriminalisation of abortion across the UK.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCGP chair, said: “This is an incredibly sensitive topic, but it’s essential that we engage in debate and hear what our members have to say on all issues facing modern healthcare.
“It speaks to the strength of feeling of our members that we had such a good response rate to our consultation. The quality of the feedback has been hugely valuable in helping us form an official position on the decriminalisation of abortion.
“Ultimately, this is about providing non-judgemental care to our patients so that women who face the difficult decision to proceed with an abortion are not disadvantaged by the legal system.”