53 days to go…Mass appeal and the U.K.’s two doctor model of consent (part 4)

Marie Stopes image from Daily Mail Bloomsbury London

(PART 4)
53 DAYS TO GO……to Ireland’s referendum on abortion on May 25th where voters decide whether to repeal / remove the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution which gives equal protection to mother and child, or to keep it.
This post is in two parts:
Everyday, we promote Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said privately or publicly in parishes in reparation for Ireland’s turning from God and for protection of the 8th amendment. August last year in Knock, she said, ‘if Ireland votes for abortion, Ireland is lost.’ Please consider getting Masses said locally or through this link to ACN:
Alternatively Human Life International Ireland have a 1000 Mass campaign for protection of the unborn and reparation for Ireland’s turning from God…
Most importantly: can you with other parishioners organise one or more Masses / half-days or days of prayer with medically safe fasting in your parish?
Yesterday we looked at how the wording of the original 1967 act which required two doctors to form an opinion in good faith that a woman qualified for an abortion under certain grounds, was deemed to not require any abortionist to see a woman before an abortion and that while it was ‘good practice’, there was no legal requirement.
How abortionists may not pre-sign consent forms but must sign off on forms that nursing staff have already used to consent the woman.
How 70% of abortions in the UK are done by private companies contracted to perform them (NHS contract), the two biggest ones being: the British Pregnancy Advisory Service / B.P.A.S. and Marie Stopes UK.
Last year, the Daily Mail, ran an article:
“Abortions signed off after just a phone call: how Marie Stopes doctors approve abortions for women they’ve never met.”
According to the article: “Although doctors are not legally required to meet a woman before signing off their abortion, Department of Health guidance says it is ‘good practice’. And doctors must be able to show they have signed off the abortion after forming an opinion ‘in good faith’ that the legal grounds for termination have been met.”
Two Daily Mail reporters rang Marie Stopes help lines to test how requests for abortions are now handled given the different scandals of the past with Marie Stopes…
What appears to emerge is that the reason given over the phone in what can be a very short conversation ends up being re phrased to suit one of the grounds for the act and signed off on by a doctor at the clinic.
The Daily Mail maintain that one of the conversations lasted just 22 seconds to get approval for an abortion. In both conversations, not wanting a baby was re phrased as “emotionally unable to cope” under the act. The reporters in both phone calls were reassured that they would not have to see two doctors or any doctor as it was unnecessary.
By the time the reporter got to the clinic, her ‘I just don’t want the baby’ justification had been recorded in her medical notes as ‘client is unable emotionally to continue with pregnancy’, which fits the legal conditions.
A second reporter told a call centre worker: ‘I’m just not in a position at the minute to have a child really, it’s just not the right time for me.’ But after being asked whether she agreed that it was not the right time ‘emotionally’ for her to have a child, she was told: ‘Yeah, yeah, under the Abortion Act, that would fall down as an emotional reason, so that’s absolutely fine.’
The Daily Mail reporters raise two concerns regarding consenting of women for abortion from their experiences:
(1): Is that health care assistants or nurses consent the women and the doctor does not see them though there is no legal requirement for that to take place as per yesterday’s post: Day 55 .
(2): More significantly the Daily Mail states: “Concerns that doctors were signing off abortions based solely on call-centre conversations were raised last year by the health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which inspected Marie Stopes clinics last April and published its reports in December. In a major scandal which resulted in the suspension of some abortion services at the clinics, inspectors found a string of failures.”
The reporters seemed concerned and cited a Care Quality Commission concern that women are not being seen by doctors pre-abortion. It’s a little surprising they were shocked or not in the loop, as that has been the established status quo since the 2014 response of the Dept. of Health to the pre-signing scandal and investigation by the General Medical Council of 2012 / 2013.
What is different however, in this article, is the suggestion that the call centre call with someone unqualified was grounds enough to book an abortion with no suggestion that a nurse would consent the woman for the doctor to sign off on.
There were also serious concerns about doctors ‘bulk signing’ abortion consent forms without seeing the women involved, with one doctor signing 26 consent forms in two minutes.
The article doesn’t state if the bulk signing was pre-signing ( the doctor signs the end of the consent form before the nurse goes through the form with the woman and fills in the rest of the consent form). Medics performing abortions have been warned not to do this by the General Medical Council, the Dept. of Health and the British Medical Association and it is illegal.
It is also possible, it was bulk signing after a nurse or nurses had gone through the consent forms with the women in question,  in which case, the doctor who bulk signed the 26 consent forms in two minutes, would likely have relied on the nurse(s) to flag any issues and signing off was an afterthought probably done under pressure.
If it is the latter case, it may not be considered to be good practice but there is absolutely nothing illegal in it as again, there is no legal requirement for abortionists to see British women seeking abortions before the abortion.
Tomorrow 52 days to go…. And the experience of an abortionist working at Marie Stopes UK.

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