This article appears in the February 1999 edition of the Catholic Medical Quarterly

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Young Doctors Refuse to Perform Abortions

A headline we never thought would be seen: NHS hospitals are being forced to turn away women seeking abortion because of an acute shortage of doctors willing to do the job. A study by the Abortion Law Reform Association shows that, in some hospitals, all the junior doctors have exercised their right to refuse to carry out abortions. What has brought about this amazing transformation?

According to Nuala Scarisbrick in the Catholic Herald, it is due to education and sensitivity to human rights. Every school child from 11 years upwards now learns more about life before birth than any previous generation. They see pictures of unborn babies, wall charts showing development from fertilisation to birth.

In the sixth form, science students learn, under genetics, that fertilisation is when the complete genetic blueprint of each of us is made. Ultra-sound pictures now show the baby's face in amazing detail. Doctors and patients see babies as young as 8 or 9 weeks jumping about in the womb. Nuala has a photograph in her album of her grandson at 11 weeks' gestation next to his photo taken 3 hours after birth.

Young doctors recognise the humanity of the unborn child in a way their seniors did not. Nuala also points out that students at school and university are more conscious than ever before of the right to life, freedom and dignity of other people. They have come to realise that discrimination and killing by abortion are morally no different today from those in the Nazism of the past.

DominicLawson in the Sunday Telegraph says, 'all we can do is to praise, cheer and celebrate the youth of this country.'

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