Saturday, May 05, 2007

UK Doctor persuades women from having abortions

This is an interesting article about a doctor in the UK by the name of Tammie Downes who personally opposes abortions, but favours legal abortion.

She tries to dissaude pregnant women from having abortions.

"People talk about being pro-choice as being pro-abortion, but I like to think I am pro an informed choice, which many women don't always make.

"When your life is in turmoil, which inevitably it is when you have a pregnancy you feel is unwanted, then it is the worst possible time to be making a decision," she says.

"What I hope to do is create a situation where women can look back and understand the framework within which they made their decision."

It sounds obvious, after all, isn't that what a doctor is there for? But Dr Downes believes it is often not the case. She feels that abortion on demand has come to be seen as an easy option for both patients and doctors.

"Initially, I felt surprised because my general perception of the world is that people are losing their moral compass somewhat, that convenience is the watchword we live by these days," she says.

"But at the same time I think doctors are starting to confront the fact that there is a conflict in the work we do.

"There we are, desperately trying to save the life of a premature baby born at 21-weeks-old in one hospital theatre, and then down the corridor there are women coming in to abort babies at up to 24 weeks. How can anyone say this makes sense?"


In the meantime Dr Downes will continue her work, asking the simple questions that in some cases can literally mean the difference between life and death.

"You just do it and then the baby's gone and you get on with your life - and some GPs don't necessarily do much to disabuse women of that notion. But the fact is it's not like taking an antibiotic. There are enormous emotional and practical implications whatever you do and that is what I try to help women understand," she says.

Over the years, she believes, thanks to her prompting, around one in three women she has treated have been able to change their mind.


Sometimes, Dr Downes says, her role is simply a case of getting people to think about their decision in a slightly different way.

"There are huge implications to having children of course, and that is what people who have initially made the decision to have an abortion tend to focus on. But there are also implications to having an abortion, too, which you will also live with for the rest of your life.

"Quite often the deeply held sense of guilt and grief never leave you, however your life unfolds."


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