RCGP UK-wide position on decriminalisation of abortion

The RCGP has called for the decriminalisation of abortion, following a poll of members in 2018. The RCGP supports the decriminalisation of abortion and believes it should be regulated in the same way as other healthcare.

Between 16th November and 31st December 2018, RCGP members were invited to respond to a survey to vote on whether the College should support, oppose, or take a neutral position on decriminalisation of abortion. Members could also abstain. Members were able to cast their vote online via a link sent to them by a polling company commissioned by the RCGP, ComRes.

The survey was sent to 53,724 members, this constitutes all members except for those who have ‘opted out’ of all email communications from the College. 4429 members completed the survey – a completion rate of around 8%.

The results of the consultation were as follows:

  • The RCGP should support the decriminalisation of abortion: the procedure should be governed by medical regulatory frameworks: 62%
  • The RCGP should oppose the decriminalisation of abortion: the procedure should be subject to criminal prosecution: 19%
  • The RCGP should have a neutral position on the decriminalisation of abortion: 15%
  • I would like to abstain from this consultation: 4%

Results were weighted by member grade to reflect the make-up of RCGP membership.

In February 2019, RCGP UK Council formally adopted a position of supporting the decriminalisation of abortion.

Medical professionals in Northern Ireland may also consult guidance published by RCGPNI in October 2019.