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         May 2017


Professor given £500,000 to write about the Abortion Act

Professor Sally Sheldon, a trustee of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (the largest abortion provider in Britain) has been given a grant of £512,000 by The Arts and Humanities Research Council to write a study about the 1967 Abortion Act. 

Sheldon has been a campaigner of abortion on demand for over 20 years, she has voiced her support for gender-selective abortions and has also stated that midwives should carry out surgical abortions. Moreover, she supported the bill to decriminalise abortion which was presented to the House of Commons in March 2017 by MP Diana Johnson. Sheldon is also one of the key figures in the 'We Trust Women' campaign, started by BPAS to push for the decriminalise of abortion.

Sheldon has stated that the 1967 Abortion Act is “a remnant of the attitude of a previous age" and she says that in assuming that only doctors can perform surgical abortions, the Act has not been interpreted correctly. She means that the NHS could save money and speed up services by letting nurses and midwives perform surgical abortions. (As quoted by Christian Concern)

Sheldon has also stated that, "A close reading of relevant law reveals that this assumption is unfounded. On the contrary, it would be lawful for appropriately trained nurses or midwives, acting as part of a multidisciplinary team, to carry out vacuum aspiration procedures. This interpretation of the law offers the potential for developing more streamlined, cost-effective abortion services, which would be both safe and highly acceptable to patients." (As quoted in www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

Maria Caulfield, a Conservative MP and former nurse, has said that she is going to discuss the issue of midwives carrying out surgical abortions with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. She says that, "Midwives are desperately worried that there is a drive to make abortion easier and they will be called upon to carry out these surgical procedures." and that "They are feeling very pressured. One minute they are being asked to save lives, the next to carry out abortions." Lord Alton, a Crossbench peer, has also commented saying, "Women placed into the care of a midwife may have their confidence undermined if they know the midwife is also involved in ending life." Lucy Lovell, a midwife from Gloucestershire, has said, "I wouldn't be happy to do procedures like that and I do not think it should be part of a midwife's role." (As quoted by Christian Concern)

Professor Sheldon is expected to present the results of her study to Parliament in April 2018.