Letters Reflection in abortion care

Conscientious objection in abortion care

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k131 (Published 12 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k131
  1. James W Gerrard, general practitioner
  1. Windmill Health Centre, Leeds LS14 5JS, UK
  1. james.gerrard{at}nhs.net

Goldbeck-Wood eloquently outlines the value of conscientious reflection in abortion care for both woman and doctor.1 I share this belief, though arrive there from a position of conscientious objection to abortion. Her piece is in marked contrast to others who think that “conscience has little place in the delivery of modern medical care,”2 a startling view that Goldbeck-Wood effectively counters.

I have argued elsewhere that, far from being detrimental to choice, the role of doctors who hold a conscientious objection is of value and is an important counter balance to the brutalisation that Goldbeck-Wood warns against.3 This will remain the case even if abortion is taken out of the criminal law. I hope organisations like the British Medical Association and the General Medical Council will recognise this and continue to support doctors who conscientiously object.


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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