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RCOG response to NI report on termination for Fatal Fetal Abnormality

News 26 April 2018

The report of an inter-Departmental working group in Northern Ireland on termination of pregnancies in fatal fetal abnormality cases has been published.

Dr Carolyn Bailie, a consultant obstetrician in Belfast and Chair of the Northern Irish Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said:

“We welcome the publication of this working group report which is long overdue.

“Currently obstetricians in Northern Ireland are unable to provide local care and support to parents who have been given the distressing diagnosis of a fetal condition likely to lead to death before or shortly after birth, and no longer feel able to continue with the pregnancy.

“The current situation means that any woman seeking an abortion in these circumstances has to travel to the UK without formal medical referral, and at huge personal cost emotionally and financially. While funding for abortion in England is a welcome temporary step this is not an acceptable long term solution.

“As doctors, we wish to provide compassionate and appropriate care to these women, according to their individual personal circumstances, in the knowledge that this is within the rule of law.

“The Northern Irish Committee of the RCOG stands by ready to work with the Department of Health and politicians to make progress in this area and enable clinicians to offer a good standard of care to women in these circumstances, so they can be appropriately looked after by their local obstetric and midwifery teams in Northern Ireland.”

Notes to editors:

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The RCOG is a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision. Visit our website and follow us on Twitter @RCObsGyn.