Thursday, 3 May 2007

Almost a quarter of GPs 'won't refer abortions'

Almost a quarter of family doctors are refusing to sign forms that women need completed in order to have an abortion, according to a survey.

The poll, published by the doctors' newspaper Pulse, said 19 per cent of GPs believe abortions should be illegal.

Some 24 per cent of the 309 doctors surveyed said they refused to sign abortion referral forms and 55 per cent said they thought the 24-week limit for terminations should be reduced.

The law states a woman must get two doctors to sign the form to show she meets the grounds that make abortion legal.

Dr Rob Hardie left his Wiltshire practice in 2004 after refusing to sign the new GP contract, partly, he said, because of the guidelines on abortion.

He said: "With abortion, there's the ethical problem of destroying a life, and even if you have different beliefs, there's surely an ethical problem in doctors being forced to do something that they do not believe in. It's immoral and unjust.

"So it's fantastic to see young doctors making a stand against this - not just Catholics but other Christians and Muslims too." Read more

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