British Maternity Units Turning Away Expectant Mothers, Could Prompt Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 20, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 20
, 2008

London, England ( — In a shocking new report, half of all hospitals in England under the nation’s health care service turned away expectant mothers because they were too full. The news could prompt some women who fear a lack of proper medical care to have abortions and one pro-life watchdog says he’s concerned about the implications for the U.S.

The government data revealed larger hospitals were more likely to turn away pregnant women while smaller hospitals and medical clinics were less likely to be full.

About 42 percent of the medical facilities report turning expectant mothers away at least once during 2007 and nine percent did that more than 10 times.

One hospital turned away pregnant women 28 times and another did so 39 times.

The capacity crisis in England has resulted in an outcry from patient groups who say women who are expecting babies now must travel further away for delivery.

The information came from a government query Conservative MPs made under the Freedom of Information Act.

Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, told the London Telegraph he’s concerned about the report and about the Labour government’s plans to shut smaller hospitals and merge them with larger ones.

"Labour is fixated with cutting smaller, local maternity services and concentrating them in big units," he told the newspaper. "But women don’t want to have to travel miles to give birth. And they certainly don’t want to have to travel even further because they’re turned away by the hospital of their choice."

Wesley Smith, an attorney and bioethics watchdog in the United States, has been monitoring problems with the British health service and said it has consequences in the United States for those who say government-run medicine is needed.

"The news at the NHS goes from crisis to crisis. Now, women in labor are being turned away from hospitals," he said.

"If that happened here — particularly, if Bush were still President — can you imagine the screaming? But this isn’t a right-wing plot. It is socialized medicine," he explained.