Policy statements about abortion access
Statements by secular, medical
American Academy of Pediatrics:
The Academy conducted an opinion survey among a random sample of its
membership in 1991. The margin of error would have been about ~+mn~3% percentage
The majority of members surveyed (56.7%) favored access to
abortion for adolescents for all the reasons identified in the
questionnaire; 35.4% believed abortion should clearly be
restricted in some circumstances, and 7.0% believed adolescents
should not have access to abortion under any circumstances. For
each individual reason for abortion, at least 60% of the
membership believed adolescents should have access to abortion
services. In addition, most pediatricians supported legal
positions that would facilitate access to abortion services for
adolescents. Urban, female, and non—self-employed pediatricians
were slightly more likely to support access to abortion by
adolescents than comparison groups. 1
American Medical Association:
||Statement H-5.990: Abortion: "The issue of support of or
opposition to abortion is a matter for members of the AMA to decide
individually, based on personal values or beliefs. The AMA will take no
action which may be construed as an attempt to alter or influence the
personal views of individual physicians regarding abortion procedures."
|Statement H-5.995: Abortion: "Our AMA reaffirms that:
- abortion is a medical procedure and should be performed only by a
duly licensed physician and surgeon in conformance with standards of
good medical practice and the Medical Practice Act of his state; and
no physician or other professional personnel shall be required to
perform an act violative of good medical judgment. Neither physician,
hospital, nor hospital personnel shall be required to perform any act
violative of personally held moral principles. In these circumstances,
good medical practice requires only that the physician or other
professional withdraw from the case, so long as the withdrawal is
consistent with good medical practice." 3
Australian Medical Association:
Their revised statement on "Termination of Pregnancy" issued on
- The AMA respects the rights of doctors to hold differing views
regarding termination of pregnancy.
- Where the law permits termination of pregnancy, the procedure and
the associated anaesthesia should, as with any other medical
intervention, be performed by appropriately trained medical
practitioners, in premises approved by a recognised health standards
- Where the law permits termination of pregnancy, non-surgical forms
of termination (such as RU486/mifepristone) should be made available as
an alternative to surgical abortion in cases where they are medically
deemed to be the safest and most appropriate option based on the
appropriate clinical assessment.
It is the doctor's responsibility to provide patients with
information regarding the potential health risks and psychological
consequences which can arise from continuation of and termination of
On 2005-AUG-15, Dr. Mukesh Haikerwal, the AMA president, said:
"The AMA is concerned that a situation could arise where doctors
could be compromising patient care for fear of legal repercussions."
"Any decision on abortion is between the doctor and patient. There
is no place for third parties – governments, over-zealous politicians
and lawyers, hospital committees, or even the spectre of legal action."
"The decision for late term abortion is not made lightly by women or
the doctors who care for them."
"Doctors need to be working in a safe and clear legal
environment. It is not acceptable for doctors and their patients to not
know what is required for an abortion to be considered legal.
""Australia urgently needs uniform national legislation on abortion
so that access to services is safe and equitable for all Australian
Girl's Incorporated promote a group of civil rights that they call the
"Girls' Bill of Rights." The Girl's Incorporated Council has adopted a
series of advocacy statements in support of each right The fourth of six rights
states that: "Girls have the right to accept and appreciate their bodies."
The statement associated with this right states:
"To make responsible decisions about sexuality, pregnancy and
parenthood, girls need and have a right to sensitive, truthful sexuality
education; convenient access to safe, effective methods of contraception and
protection from disease; and referral to comprehensive information, counseling,
clinical and other services that support their responsible decisions. ..."
"Girls Incorporated affirms that girls and young
women should make responsible decisions about sexuality, pregnancy and
"We recognize the right of all women to choose whether, when, and under what
circumstances to bear children. Reproductive freedom and responsibility are
essential to other rights and opportunities, including pursuit of education,
employment, financial security and a stable and fulfilling family life.
Restrictions of reproductive choice are especially burdensome for young women
and poor women. Girls Incorporated supports a woman’s freedom of choice, a
constitutional right established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 in Roe vs.
The League of Women Voters:
In their document: "Public Policy on Reproductive Choices," the League
listed dozens of activities from 1983 until 2004 in which they promoted the
pro-choice cause. They supported or opposed
bills in Congress and state legislatures. They filed amicus curiae briefs to
courts. The co-sponsored the March for Women's Lives, etc. Their document
"The League has joined with other pro-choice organizations in continuous
opposition to restrictions on the right of privacy in reproductive choices ... "
"The League was a cosponsor of the March for Women’s Lives held in Washington,
D.C. on April 25, 2004. The March demonstrated widespread support for the right
to make reproductive choices and included many delegations of state and local
Their "About us" page states:
"We're not here just to put up a good fight. We're here to win, because
winning is how the killing stops."
"As an anti-abortion pro-life
organization, we fight to change the abortion picture - to end legal
abortion and return the right to life to unborn babies from the moment of
conception. Our motto is, 'Pro-Life: without compromise, without exception,
without apology'." 8
NARAL Pro-Choice America:
While it's critical to promote policies that help prevent unintended
pregnancies and make abortion less necessary, NARAL Pro-Choice America also
fights to protect the right to safe, legal abortion.
"In 1973, the Supreme Court guaranteed American women the right to choose
abortion in its landmark decision Roe v. Wade. In Roe, the
Court issued a compromise between the state's ability to restrict abortion
and a woman's right to choose." 9
National Right to Life:
Their mission statement says, in part:
"The National Right to Life Committee
has been instrumental in achieving a number of legislative reforms at the
national level, including a ban on non-therapeutic experimentation of unborn
and newborn babies, a federal conscience clause guaranteeing medical
personnel the right to refuse to participate in abortion procedures, and
various amendments to appropriations bills which prohibit (or limit) the use
of federal funds to subsidize or promote abortions in the United States and
"The ultimate goal of the National
Right to Life Committee is to restore legal protection to innocent human
life. The primary interest of the National Right to Life Committee and its
members has been the abortion controversy; however, it is also concerned
with related matters of medical ethics which relate to the right to life
issues of euthanasia and infanticide. The Committee does not have a position
on issues such as contraception, sex education, capital punishment, and
"In addition to maintaining a lobbying
presence at the federal level, NRLC serves as a clearinghouse of information
for its state affiliates and local chapters, its
individual members, the press, and the public." 10
This is an organization of Roman Catholic priests under the leadership of Fr.
Frank Pavone. They do not have a separate statement on abortion available on
their web site. However, they do refer visitors to the Catechism of the
Catholic Church. It says, in part:
2270 "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from
the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human
being must be recognized as having the rights of a person -- among which is
the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. ..."
2271 "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil
of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains
unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an
end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law. ..."
"Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception:
abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes."
2272 "Formal co-operation in an abortion constitutes a grave offence.
The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime
against human life. ..."
2273 "The inalienable right to life of every innocent human
individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its
"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by
civil society and the political authority. ... Among such fundamental rights
one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and
physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.' ..."
"As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for
the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide
appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's
2274 "Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the
embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as
possible, like any other human being. Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit,
'if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human foetus
and is directed toward its safeguarding or healing as an individual... It is
gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of
possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must
not be the equivalent of a death sentence'." 11
Safe Motherhood Inter-Agency Group:
This group declared 1998 the "Year of Safe Motherhood. It involved
United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Children's Fund, the World
Health Organization, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the
Population Council, and the Family Care International declared 1998 the "Year
of Safe Motherhood."
Their call to action included the following:
||International aid agencies are urged to provide overseas assistance to
programs that promote maternal care as an essential component of
reproductive health services.
||Governments of developing countries are urged to reduce maternal
mortality and morbidity by developing and implementing health, nutrition and
education programs that promote the health of pregnant women and their
||Corporations around the world are urged to encourage governments and
private organizations in host countries to provide funds and develop
programs that foster safe motherhood, and to support safe motherhood among
their employees and customers.
||Women, men and families everywhere are urged to demand and seek quality
prenatal and obstetric care to ensure that no woman dies or suffers
long-term complications from childbirth.
The term "reproductive health services" is often interpreted as referring to
safe, legal, abortions in addition to many other services. They noted that about
100,000 women died each year from unsafe abortions. They advocated "Services
to prevent and manage the complications of unsafe abortions."
YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association):
In their 2003-NOV position paper "Unwavering Support for Reproductive
Rights," the YWCA stated:
"The YWCA of the USA has an unwavering commitment to reproductive rights for
women. The YWCA of the USA adopted a “freedom of choice" position in 1967 at the
YWCA National Convention following an extensive debate by the nearly 1,000
delegates from local associations all over the country. All viewpoints were
thoughtfully considered before the decision was made. This position was
reaffirmed at the 1988 national convention and remains an important part of the
comprehensive YWCA public policy agenda. ..."
"For almost four decades the YWCA has been an advocate for reproductive
rights and freedoms. In 1989, the YWCA was at the forefront of pro-choice
demonstrations in Washington. In 1990, when attacks were made on many
corporations by the Christian Action Council because of their support of Planned
Parenthood, the YWCA wrote supportive letters to the corporations. In 1991, when
defense appropriations tried to limit abortions for women in the military, YWCAs
wrote letters of protest. In the 1980's and 1990's when administrations sought
to limit international aid funding to countries which provide abortion services,
the YWCA wrote and called congressional representatives asking removal of this
provision from the funding bills." 13
References used in the above essay:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Gretchen V. Fleming PhD and Karen G. O'Connor, "Adolescent Abortion: Views
of the Membership of the American Academy of Pediatrics," Pediatrics,
"H-5.990 Policy on Abortion," American Medical Association, at:
"H-5.995 Policy on Abortion," American Medical Association, at:
"AMA Supports Use of RU-486 for Termination of Pregnancy," Australian
Medical Association, 2005-NOV-07, at:
"Australia Needs Consistent Uniform National Abortion Laws To Protect Women
and Doctors," Australian Medical Association, 2005-AUG-15, at:
"Girls have the right to accept and appreciate their bodies," Girl's Inc.,
"Public Policy on Reproductive Choices," League of Women Voters, at:
"About Life Dynamics," at:
"Issues: Abortion," NARAL, at:
"Mission Statement," National Right to Life, at:
"Excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on Life, Abortion, and
Euthanasia (#2258-2262; 2268-2279)," Priests for Life, at:
"1998 'Year of Safe Motherhood'," Africa Action, at:
"Unwavering Support for Reproductive Rights," YWCA, 2003-NOV, at:
Copyright © 2001 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2001-NOV-16-
Latest update: 2007-MAY-18
Author: B.A. Robinson