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Members signal support for removing criminal sanctions on termination of pregnancy

2 May 2018

Nearly three quarters of RCN members responding to a UK-wide poll voted in favour of wanting criminal sanctions removed from termination of pregnancy legislation.

RCN consults on decriminalisation of abortion

Members were asked their views following a debate taking place across the country, in Parliament and in health organisations on the issue. The move was also considered at RCN Congress in 2016. 

Based on the views of its members, the RCN will now consider its future work relating to termination of pregnancy legislation. However, its position on the termination of pregnancy is unchanged.

The College will explore regulation and quality monitoring processes which must be in place to protect the rights of women to access free, safe and effective services, and support best health care practice.
 
The RCN believes that termination of pregnancy should be treated the same as any other medical practice, remaining subject to the regulations that apply to all clinical procedures.
 
The College has also stated that the process of decriminalisation should be based on the best evidence available and in accordance with relevant professional standards.

The RCN membership survey focused solely on the principle of decriminalisation. Members were not consulted on the wider issues relating to the termination of pregnancy, including the arguments for or against the procedure. The RCN has not called for any change to gestational limits or change to the right to conscientious objection by health care professionals. 
 
RCN Chief Executive Janet Davies said: “I want to thank all those who completed the survey to help us inform our position on this important issue. We will use the views of all our members to inform the RCN’s future work.”