Fifty years ago on Friday Britain began allowing unborn babies to be aborted.
Over the next few days, pro-life advocates across the United Kingdom will mark the tragic anniversary and remember the nearly 9 million unborn babies who were killed under the law. The annual UK March for Life is slated for May 5 in London.
The 1967 Abortion Act “received Royal Assent on 27 October 1967” but did not take effect until six months later on April 27, 1968, according to the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC), a leading pro-life organization in the UK. The act legalized abortion for any reason up to 24 weeks of pregnancy and later in limited circumstances.
SPUC marked the tragic day by delivering thank you notes to MPs who are pro-life. More events, including a prayer vigil and the March for Life, are scheduled throughout the coming week.
“Since the 1967 Abortion Act came into force, nearly 9 million babies have lost their lives to abortion, and countless women have been hurt, both physically and emotionally,” said Antonia Tully, SPUC director of campaigns.
“This is a tragic anniversary, but we wanted to take the opportunity to thank those MPs who have bravely defied the pro-abortion consensus and used their votes and their voices to stand up for unborn babies,” Tully continued.
Though 50 years have passed, the debate about abortion and unborn babies’ rights is no less contentious. Currently, there is a tug of war about the 24-week abortion limit. Abortion activists and some medical leaders are pushing to abolish limits completely, while moderates and pro-lifers are pulling for a narrower limit based on the fact that premature babies are surviving earlier than 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Now the British Medical Association (BMA) is demanding changes to the law so that women can access terminations on demand. They say doctors should not face criminal sanctions for providing abortions, nor women for procuring them, in any circumstances, at any stage in a pregnancy, including beyond the 24-week limit.
The issue of termination limits is one of the most divisive. Melanie McDonagh in The Spectator says the “grotesque” 24-week limit allows abortions far too late in pregnancy, and cites an online ComRes survey of more than 2,000 adults conducted for the BBC. It found that 70% of women wanted the current time limit to be shortened.
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Abortion activists increasingly are trying to silence pro-life advocates as well. Earlier this month, the Ealing Council in west London unanimously approved a 100-meter (328 foot) buffer zone to prohibit pro-life outreach around a Marie Stopes abortion facility in the city. Those who violate the buffer zone could face fines or jail time. It is the first of its kind in England, and abortion activists hope to pressure more cities to take similar action.
But many women have rejected abortion after learning the truth about their unborn babies and the carelessness of the abortion industry.
Marie Stopes International, based in England, has been exposed numerous times for health and safety violations. In 2016, inspectors found such horrible conditions that the British government temporarily shut down some of the abortion chain’s operations.
Then again in 2017, the British Care Quality Commission found that Marie Stopes facilities had botched nearly 400 abortions in a two-month period. The Care Quality Commission found evidence that it also was pressuring women to have abortions by incentivizing staff with bonuses.
These horrifying revelations are just one reason why the abortion debate continues strong after 50 years in the UK.
Five decades also have brought about amazing research about unborn babies’ development, 3D and 4D ultrasounds, medical technology that allows babies to survive after just 22 weeks in the womb, and more. They have brought generations of hurt resulting from lost babies and grieving mothers and fathers. Now more than ever it is clear that women deserve better than abortion, and, most important of all, that an unborn child is a unique, living, valuable human being who deserves a right to life.