WMA Statement on Medically-Indicated Termination of Pregnancy


Adopted by the 24th World Medical Assembly, Oslo, Norway, August 1970
and amended by the 35th World Medical Assembly, Venice, Italy, October 1983,
the 57th WMA General Assembly, Pilanesberg, South Africa, October 2006,
and
the 69th WMA General Assembly, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2018

Preamble

  1. Medically-indicated termination of pregnancy refers only to interruption of pregnancy due to health reasons, in accordance with principles of evidence-based medicine and good clinical practice. This Declaration does not include or imply any views on termination of pregnancy carried out for any reason other than medical indication.
  2. Termination of pregnancy is a medical matter between the patient and the physician. Attitudes toward termination of pregnancy are a matter of individual conviction and conscience that should be respected.
  3. A circumstance where the patient may be harmed by carrying the pregnancy to term presents a conflict between the life of the foetus and the health of the pregnant woman. Diverse responses to resolve this dilemma reflect the diverse cultural, legal, traditional, and regional standards of medical care throughout the world.

Recommendations

  1. Physicians should be aware of local termination of pregnancy laws, regulations and reporting requirements. National laws, norms, standards, and clinical practice related to termination of pregnancy should promote and protect women’s health, dignity and their human rights, voluntary informed consent, and autonomy in decision-making, confidentiality and privacy. National medical associations should advocate that national health policy upholds these principles.
  2. Where the law allows medically-indicated termination of pregnancy to be performed, the procedure should be performed by a competent physician and only in extreme cases by another qualified health care worker, in accordance with evidence-based medicine principles and good medical practice in an approved facility that meets required medical standards.
  3. The convictions of both the physician and the patient should be respected.
  4. Patients must be supported appropriately and provided with necessary medical and psychological treatment along with appropriate counselling if desired.
  5. Physicians have a right to conscientious objection to performing an abortion; therefore, they may withdraw while ensuring the continuity of medical care by a qualified colleague. In all cases, physician must perform those procedures necessary to save the woman’s life and to prevent serious injury to her health.
  6. Physicians must work with relevant institutions and authorities to ensure that no woman is harmed because medically-indicated termination of pregnancy services are unavailable.

 

Statement
Abortion, Conscience, Ethics, Obstetrics, Pregnancy, Termination of Pregnancy

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