Post-24 weeks abortion not acceptable to half of medical students

Nearly 50 per cent of today’s medical students state that they would object to abort a baby with congenital abnormalities older than 24 weeks in pregnancy.

As revealed in a recent poll, almost 29 per cent (one in three) of the medical students objected to perform such an abortion, if ever placed in such a situation.
Only those babies who are established to be at a “substantial risk” of “serious handicap” in life can be legally aborted after 24 weeks.

Since 2002, there have been nearly 18,000 such abortions including a handful for reasons as minor as cleft palate and club foot.

Almost half of the 733 students from Cardiff, London, and Leeds who were surveyed believed that they should be able to deny medical treatment to patients that was against their ethical and religious beliefs.
The students were questioned regarding their willingness to perform 11 medical practices, including carrying out abortions at various stages of pregnancy, providing contraceptive services, and treating those who were drunk or high on drugs.

It was found that amongst all the various procedures in question, the students were almost unwilling to cater to patients requesting an abortion. A total of 43.7 per cent students said they would object to perform an abortion after 24 weeks for congenital abnormalities and 29 per cent refused to do it. Amongst Muslim respondents, almost 72 per cent objected while 45 per cent refused to carry out the procedure.

Compared to 23 per cent of all the students surveyed, nearly 60 per cent of Muslim students revealed that they would refuse to abort a pregnancy caused by failed contraception.

“In light of increasing demand for abortions, these results may have implications for women’s access to abortion services in the future. The Department of Health has issued statistics showing that, although there are an increasing number of abortions taking place in the UK, fewer doctors are willing to perform them.” as said by researcher Dr. Sophie Strickland of King George Hospital in Essex.

Doctors are free to refuse to provide treatment that is against their principles per General Medical Council (GMC) guidance; however, they are required to refer the patient to a colleague who will not object.

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