Midwives vote to make abortion care part of their practice
At the recent International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) 28th Triennial Congress, in Glasgow, Scotland, council members voted to expand midwives’ reproductive health role to include safe abortion where legally permitted.
The Ghana Registered Midwives Association (GRMA) proposed revision of the ICM postabortion care statement to include provision of safe abortion services where legal and where midwives have the skills to provide the services
The proposal generated significant dialogue, and midwives from Africa and Asia spoke passionately about the impact of abortion-related maternal deaths in their countries and their experiences with women who die due to a lack of services.
"Never before had midwives spoken so passionately or eloquently on a subject that had always been denied attention at the ICM Board," said incoming ICM President Bridget Lynch.
The debate ended with a proposal for the ICM Board to develop an advanced competency for midwives in the provision of abortion-related services. Approximately 67 percent of the more than 200 council members at the meeting voted for the inclusion.
The GRMA was then mandated to develop and resubmit an abortion policy statement asserting abortion-related care ― before, during and postabortion according to the laws of a country ― is a midwife’s responsibility.
The ICM’s position statements express the Confederation’s core beliefs and principles and provide guidance for its members in specific situations related to midwifery, maternal and newborn health, and broader issues that affect midwives or those they care for.
The revised position statement on abortion reflects World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations regarding midlevel involvement in abortion care and supports midwives seeking to include uterine evacuation as part of the services they provide to women
Other highlights of the ICM Congress include the nomination of two Ipas partners to the ICM Board ― Deliwe Nancy Nyathikazi, the president of the Society of Midwives of South Africa, and Marieme Fall, of the Association Nationale des Sages-Femmes d’Etat du Sénégal (Senegalese Midwives Association) were elected to represent East and West Africa.
Ipas will be working with the new board members to draft the abortion competency guidelines over the next few months.