A new analysis from the Christian Institute in England shows that more than six million abortions have been done on unborn babies in the United Kingdom since abortion was legalized in 1967.
“According to the figures 6.4 million abortions were performed on residents of England and Wales between 1968 and 2011,” the pro-life group said in a new article based on its research.
While some abortion advocates claim abortions are needed to protect women’s lives and health, the analysis of the numbers shows that’s not the case.
“Less than 150 of the six million plus abortions carried out since abortion became legal were performed to save the life of the mother, government figures show,” the Christian Institute said. “Of these [six million] just 143 (0.006 per cent) were performed to save the life of the mother or to prevent serious permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the mother. A further 23,778 (0.37%) abortions were performed because the continuance of pregnancy would involve the risk to the life of the woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated.”
Anthony Ozimic, of the pro-life group SPUC, says the numbers are even higher if the full UK is considered:
“If the number of abortions in the other parts of the UK (Scotland and Northern Ireland) are taken into account, then the figure is over 7.5 million abortions,” he noted.
He also clarifies that abortion is still technically, not legal, even though abortion is fully available in practice.
” Indeed, abortion is not ‘legal’ in any part of the UK,” he notes. “Abortion is a crime under sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against The Person Act 1861. The Abortion Act 1967 did not make abortion legal but merely provided automatic exoneration from prosecution for the crime of abortion if the Act’s conditions were followed. In Northern Ireland, the Abortion Act does not apply and abortion is only allowed in exceptional (in reality non-existent) circumstances under disputed case-law.”
The new figures came from the British government in response to a Parliamentary Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool.
Lord Alton was quoted as commenting on the figures on his blog: “When the case for allowing legal abortion was first placed before Parliament it was argued that the law needed to be changed to deal with extremely serious situations. More than 6 million abortions later the figures reveal that in 99.5% of cases where an unborn child’s life is ended there is no risk to the health of the mother. Other figures reveal that 3 teenage girls have had 24 abortions between them and that some women have had more than 8 legal abortions.”
Writing at National Review, Charles C. W. Cooke says the basis of the law — protecting women’s health — has been perverted with an abortion on demand culture.
Regardless of one’s view of the merit of these conditions (and for my part, (d) is particularly grotesque), no serious observer can contend that the law passed in 1967 bears any meaningful resemblance to the abortion-on-demand culture in Britain that it has created — a culture made infinitely worse by the availability of the procedure via the taxpayer-funded National Health Service. To make the case that the reality and the law are consistent, one has to argue that there have been 6 million cases since 1968 in which termination was “necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.”
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Not only does this require that we stretch the definition of “mental health” beyond any credible bounds, but even a cursory glance at the reasons that women who have abortions give for their decision dispels the notion that “mental health” is anything more than a box checked on a hospital form. Few Britons would deny that, ultimately, most women have abortions because they can, and not because there is a medical emergency.
If Britons want abortion on demand, they can undoubtedly get it.