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Nurses could be allowed to carry out abortions

Amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill have been put down for debate in the House of Commons to allow nurses with suitable training to take part in abortion care wherever appropriate.

Kathy French, a nurse working in sexual health and abortion for 15 years who has been involved in government and professional body advisory work in this area, believes that nursing role has changed and that the law on abortion needs to change to reflect this for nurses who want to work in abortion care.

She said: "The nursing role has moved on across all aspects of healthcare in the last 40 years - healthcare which nurses routinely provide now could not have been envisaged then. Unfortunately, the way that British law on abortion was written in 1967 means that now we are falling behind in being able to provide care that is truly centred around women's needs."

Mary Fjerstad, Director of Quality and Learning at Planned Parenthood the specialist reproductive healthcare provider in the United States said that national access to abortion at the earliest stages was improved where nurses are allowed to provide abortion care. 

"Expanding the pool of abortion providers to permit advanced practice nurses to perform early medical (and in some states, surgical) abortion, makes access to early abortion a reality. Women can receive early abortion at a clinic near their home, where they already receive other healthcare, by a clinician who they know and trust."