Friday 29 June 2012

Choice Henry Ford Style. A mixed bag of news from the BMA annual policy meeting

There is some contradiction in how outcomes from the BMA's policy meeting are being reported:

Christan Concern happily reports that on Wednesday the British Medical Association voted in favour of independent counselling for women seeking abortions and against a motion that sought to change the organisation's stance on assisted suicide from "opposed" to "neutral".

The BMA's own website reports that a motion was passed to supprt non-directive counselling for women seeing abortion, but that this could be provided by company providing the abortion. Apparently doctors and medical students "were not convinced enough by the arguments that counseling for women should be independent of the abortion provider".

Right. So what exactly do doctors and medical students think that Marie Stopes PLC whoops, I mean that charitably minded, woman-centred organisation named after a famous eugenicist, are going to say to women seeking to pay them several hundred pounds to remove a baby from her womb. "Here love, let me show you some lovely photos of your baby at nine weeks in this book by Lennart Nilsson... let's see - oh yes: little fingers and toes, and he can suck his thumb. But you do realise that despite the fingers, toes, beating heart, brain, voluntary movement and so on - he really is a blob of cells - so don't worry, we'll take care of the rest..."

It was noted at the meeting that the proposal was similar to Nadine Dorries' failed amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill earlier this year, which attempted to stop those with a financial interest in a particular abortion from pretending to provide "non-directive" counselling for the woman in question.

Sadly, the vote was taken against independent counselling even after Yorkshire GP Mark Pickering said: ‘I want to assure you this motion is not a pro-life stitch up … For women who were certain that they wanted an abortion, this motion would not affect them. When I see women as a GP one of the most common phrases I hear is “I feel I have no choice” … Every women should simply know that if she wants to she can get counselling.’

Dr Pickering said that he had proposed the statement to increase choices for women considering abortion. The BMA's definition of choice appears to echo Henry Ford's "you can have any colour as long as it's black"... You can have non-directive abortion counselling - as long as it's provided by the organisation with the greatest motivation for you to have an abortion.

Some choices are more important than others...

Better news comes in the form of a vote against a neutral stand on assisted suicide or "legalised dying" as the BMA website prefers to put it.

In what sounds like a lively debate, the Chairman of the BMA Welsh Junior Doctor's Committee said ‘I do not consider the killing of patients, for whatever reason, is justified.’ while Baroness Finlay maintained ‘Neutrality does not bring balance to the debate. It will tell Parliament that we see this as an acceptable option.’ BMA medical ethics committee chair Tony Calland continued this argument as he urged representatives to maintain the status quo.
He warned: ‘A change from our current position of opposing a change in the law to one of neutrality will be seen as removing objections. It would be seen as a green light.’
If a parliamentary bill were to be tabled shortly afterwards, Dr Calland warned that the BMA would not be able to pass any reasonable comment because of its neutral stance.

You can read more about it on the BMA news page and  on the Christian Concern website

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