Midwives should see abortion as part of the job, says RCM chief

The chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives says staff should 'take the rough with the smooth' when dealing with pregnant women

Harriet Sinclair
Saturday 21 May 2016 09:13 BST
Midwives 'should see abortion as part of their job' according to the RCM chief
Midwives 'should see abortion as part of their job' according to the RCM chief (PA)

Midwives should see abortion as part of their job, according to a union boss who wants to abolish the 24-week legal limit for terminating pregnancy.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, has faced calls for her dismissal since the organisation came out in support of a campaign to change the abortion limit, but maintains midwives should support women whatever their decision.

“What we’re saying is women should have control over their own fertility and over their own reproduction,” Ms Warwick said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, adding that midwives should "take the rough with the smooth" and not just enjoy the “wonder and astonishment” of bringing healthy babies into the world.

“We’re not saying we’re pro-abortion, we’re not saying we’re anti-abortion, we’re saying 'let’s give this to women to decide and let’s put it in the general field of healthcare’. ”

She also denied there was any conflict between the role of midwives and the union’s support of the campaign, which is run by the country’s biggest abortion provider BPAS. Ms Warwick is also chair of its board of trustees.

“The role of the midwife is to support women in relation to their reproduction and to care for women,” she said.

“Globally, abortion is part of the role of the midwife … providing abortion services for women is about saving their lives in many instances.

“The woman is the person who has rights within the framework that we currently practise in and I think we have to focus on the woman.”

Ms Warwick was insistent that her union’s position would not be changing, despite criticism from Andrew Percy, a Conservative member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, who said there was a conflict of interest between her roles with the RCM and BPAS.

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