The World Medical Association (WMA) has revised its advice to physicians on medically indicated termination of pregnancy.
At its annual General Assembly in Iceland, which was attended by delegates from more than 50 national medical associations, the WMA said doctors should continue to have a right to conscientious objection to performing an abortion, while ensuring the continuity of medical care by a qualified colleague. It added that in all cases physicians must perform those procedures necessary to save the woman’s life and to prevent serious injury to her health.
The WMA reiterated that where the law allows medically indicated termination of pregnancy to be performed, the procedure should be carried out by a competent physician. In an amendment to previous advice, however, it agreed that in extreme cases such as where a physician was not available, and only an abortion would save the life of the mother, it could be performed by another qualified healthcare worker. “Physicians must work with relevant institutions and authorities to ensure that no woman is harmed because medically-indicated termination of pregnancy services are unavailable,” a statement from the WMA said.