Shock: Thousands of UK Abortions on Disabled, Down Syndrome Babies

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 4, 2011   |   10:30AM   |   London, England

Shocking new statistics have been produced in England after a pro-life organization won its bid to make some abortion numbers public that the government had failed to disclose concerning abortions on disabled babies.

The numbers reveal, thousands of babies victimized by abortion merely because they were mentally or physically disabled — including 500 abortions done on unborn children who have Down syndrome. In total, 2,290 abortions were done on disabled babies with 147 done after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

The London Daily Mail indicates the statistics for England and Wales came after the Department of Health followed a Freedom of Information Request from the Pro Life Alliance, which won a 5-year battle to make the figures public and the figures are the first in over 10 years. The ways in which disabled babies are targeted by abortion makes it clear why the government was reluctant to make them available.

Julia Millington, spokeswoman for the ProLife Alliance, told the newspaper, “This is a great victory for transparency and freedom of speech and we are delighted that full information about the justification for late abortions is now being made available in the same detail as it was in 2001.”

The abortion numbers showed 482 babies aborted who had Down syndrome, including 10 aborted after 24 weeks; 123 babies who died in abortions with the nervous disorder spina bifida; abortions were done on 181 babies who had a club foot or other musculoskeletal problems, including 8 killed after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Seven babies who had cleft palates were victims of abortion.

“The ProLife Alliance is opposed to all abortion at any stage in pregnancy, but terminating the lives of babies at gestational ages when they could survive is always particularly horrifying,” Millington told the newspaper. “We have always argued that if these abortions are permitted under law, there should be no attempt whatsoever to hide details of the numbers or justifications.”

The new figures also include the number of abortions done on girls under the age of 16, and they reveal 3,718 abortions in England on the young teens, including 2,676 on 15-year-olds, 906 on 14-year-olds, 134 on 13-year-olds and two abortions done on 12-year-old girls who are clearly victims of statutory rape.

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, an abortion business, condemned the release of the figures and claimed the battle waged by the pro-life movement to get them published “reveals little more than their own vindictiveness.”

“Abortion for foetal anomaly is legal. Behind every one of these figures are doctors and nurses who deserve our admiration and support,” she told the Daily Mail.

The government filed a lawsuit with the High Court to keep secret the details concerning late abortions because of fears that individual women having abortions late in pregnancy will somehow be revealed. The Department of Health challenged a decision the Information Tribunal handed down in October 2009 saying freedom of information laws require all of the abortion statistics to be released — and none of them contain any information to identify any people specifically.

The ProLife Alliance made the request six years ago for the abortion statistics to be made public because it was concerned rules on abortions were not being followed in order to allow for abortions on babies with minor medical issues like a cleft palate or club foot, that can easily be corrected with surgery.

Dr Evan Harris, an abortion advocate who is a member of the British Medical Association medical ethics committee, sided with pro-life campaigner and said  it was “hard to see why successive governments” had fought the Information Tribunal decision.

“Patient confidentiality is paramount but there is no lawful way for patient identities to be made public merely by the occasional publication of late-stage abortion statistics, aggregated nationally,” he told the BBC. “There should be nothing to hide as late-stage abortions are rare and carefully considered.”

During a hearing, James Eadie appeared before the court for the Department of Health and asked for the decision to be overturned and argued there is sufficient abortion data in the public domain to allow for a public debate on abortion.

“There is no sensible case that publication of statistics carrying any risk of identification is warranted,” he said.

But a representative of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) told LifeNews that the government is wrong to try to cover-up abortion statistics.

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC’s communications manager, commented: “We are very concerned by any attempt at secrecy by the government regarding abortion. It is absolutely vital for the future protection of both unborn children and women that there is complete transparency in official statistics. Secrecy will only serve those doctors authorizing or performing abortions outside the terms of the law, which is already a widespread practice.”

“The fact that the case relates to statistics on the severity of disabilities among aborted unborn children is not strictly relevant to the moral issue. All unborn children, whatever their physical or mental state, have an equal right to life, confirmed by international human rights law,” he said. “So we should not be asking whether cleft palate is a more or less severe disability, but why the government wants to cover up the facts about which babies it is aborting and why.”

“The argument for transparency is all the stronger because nearly all abortions for disability are paid for by the taxpayer, and unlike most NHS procedures, they are not done to achieve any health benefit, but to cut the cost of caring for disabled people,” Ozimic concluded.