This article from the Independent today announces that some politicians in the UK are looking to expand women’s access to early abortions by allowing nurses and midwives to perform them.
MPs from all parties are to launch a campaign to modernise abortion law. They want to allow women to have early abortions on an “informed consent” basis and to allow trained nurses and midwives to carry out early abortions for the first time. They also want to expand the number of clinics offering early abortions so that women are no longer restricted to using centres officially licensed to carry out terminations.
A first trimester abortion is a very simple medical procedure (as well as one of the safest ones out there) and this isn’t the first time I’ve heard the idea to expand the definitions of who can perform these procedures. I’m not as familiar with the UK abortion climate, but here in the US, many of the laws regulating abortion providers are really meant to limit women’s access to abortion, rather than for their safety and protection. In the US, we are looking at a serious abortion provider shortage in the near future, with medical schools and students not being taught how to do the procedure.
The more authority midwives can gain to do medical procedures, particularly ones that have historically fallen under doctors domain, but are relatively simple. Plus, it will be a huge step forward toward increasing access to this important (and one of the most common) medical procedure for women.