On 9 February 2016, the Royal College of Midwives announced their support for a campaign run by abortion provider BPAS calling for the legalisation of abortion up-to-birth for any reason. On 6 May 2016, the Royal College issued a position statement that explicitly supported the aims of this campaign, the limitation of conscience rights for midwives, and the extension of the Abortion Act 1967 to Northern Ireland.

This extreme position has been announced without any consultation with the membership of the Royal College of Midwives.

If you are a midwife, maternity support worker or student midwife, please take action now by putting your name to our public joint letter (below) to the Royal College of Midwives to voice your concern about this position, the lack of consultation on this radical position and demand that the Royal College of Midwives revoke their support for this extreme campaign.

Please note only your title, first name and last name will be included in the open letter. To contact us for any reason, please email

The Letter to the Royal College of Midwives
Board of the Royal College of Midwives –

The Royal College has recently been registered as a supporter of the ‘We Trust Women’ (WTW) campaign, which wishes to see the total removal of all legal restrictions and sanctions regarding abortion. If these aims were ever implemented, it would mean the introduction of abortion up to birth for any reason.

As midwives, maternity support workers and student midwives, we object to this new extreme position taken by the College. It is out of keeping with what we take to be the ethic of our profession, as well as the consistently expressed wishes of British women with regards to the legality and regulation of abortion, and it has been taken with no consultation whatsoever of RCM membership.

In the last few years, polls have consistently shown that a larger proportion of women want more, not fewer restrictions on abortion. A ComRes poll in March 2014 found that 88% of women favoured a total and explicit ban on sex-selective abortion, whilst another in October that year registered a similar figure of 85%. The March poll also found 92% of women agreeing that a woman requesting an abortion should always be seen in person by a qualified doctor. Whilst in 2006, a Guardian / MORI poll found that 47% of women wanted a reduction in the upper time limit, a 2012 Angus Reid poll found this number had increased to 59% of women. Clearly, women want the law to be stricter on the legality and regulation of abortion, not more lax.

We work to help not only women but their babies also throughout pregnancy and in childbirth. For the organisation that represents us to support the radical position (supported by only a small minority of women) that all protections for unborn children should be removed right through to birth, and without any consultation of us members, we find utterly unacceptable.

We, the undersigned, therefore wish to state publicly that the RCM does not speak in our name in its backing of the WTW campaign. We ask that the Board revoke the College’s support for this agenda, and begin to consult the membership as to the membership's views on this controversial issue. Only when this has happened can the College develop a position that truly represents the views of its members, one which we believe can better reflect the views of British women and safeguard not only their welfare but that of their children.

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