A human face on abortion care
- By: Katherine Bettany
On the face of it, a book about an abortion gone wrong, a GMC fitness to practise procedure, and a near disaster experience for both patient and doctor doesn’t seem like the obvious choice for enjoyable reading. But there is nothing “on the face of it” about Gabriel Weston’s Dirty Work.
So often when abortion is discussed in medical education, the patient is squarely in the driving seat. It is the patient’s right to choose—the doctor must provide non-judgmental and non-directive advice, but ultimately the patient is in control. But what about the doctors—like the book’s protagonist Nancy—who perform them? Often the assumption is that these doctors agree with the practice—a fair assumption—and consequently experience no ethical conflict when opting to provide abortions. It is the latter assumption that is central to the book, which documents the unravelling of a doctor caught between her belief in, and the reality of,