Abortion activists are struggling to come up with arguments against new British legislation that would prohibit late-term abortions on unborn babies with minor, correctable problems like a cleft lip or clubfeet.
But they are trying.
In an essay at the Daily Mail, author Helena Frith Powell slammed the legislation as an “abhorrent” overreach by a nanny state.
“I find the idea that the nanny state knows best abhorrent. Why are we going backwards? In an era where everybody’s ‘rights’ are paraded as unquestionable, why is this fundamental women’s right even being discussed?” she wrote.
The answer is discrimination. The legislation, which Conservative MP Fiona Bruce introduced in Parliament this week, has the support of disability rights advocates as well as pro-lifers.
The UK allows abortions for any reason up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. After that point, abortions are allowed if the mother’s health is at serious risk or the unborn baby has a severe fetal anomaly. However, “severe” is widely interpreted, and some mothers are shocked when doctors suggest late-term abortions for unborn babies with conditions like cleft lip, which is easily correctable with surgery.
After more than 30 years, Bruce said it is time for parliament to review abortion laws again. She said her son was born with clubfoot, and surgery and therapy corrected it.
Powell, however, does not see any good reason why the government should end this deadly discrimination.
“The sentiment behind this bill, which seeks to impose a 24-week time limit on aborting babies with minor physical abnormalities such as a cleft palate or a club foot, may be worthy. But I don’t agree with it …” she wrote. “But sometimes it is necessary, sometimes it is the only way forward for the mother, and it needs to be her choice alone. In the same way every woman is an individual, every pregnancy is different.”
And contradicting the claims of many abortion activists (see the Shout Your Abortion campaign, for example), Powell claimed women do not want to abort their babies.
“No woman ever wants to have an abortion. It is not something she will do without thought, regret, anguish, and a lot of soul-searching,” she wrote. “Aborting a foetus goes against every instinct in our body.”
She questioned if the legislation is even necessary.
“Which is why I wonder if this bill is even necessary. I don’t know a single woman who would put herself through the trauma of a late abortion if she didn’t absolutely feel she had to,” she said.
But some women do choose to abort their unborn babies for discriminatory reasons – and some doctors pressure them to do it.
Research and statistics show that unborn babies with these minor disabilities are targeted for abortions every year in the UK. Earlier this year, government statistics revealed that 223 unborn babies were aborted after 24 weeks of pregnancy in the past 10 years because of a cleft lip or palate. However, it is widely accepted that the numbers likely are even higher.
And many are calling for a change, including people who identify as pro-choice but oppose late-term abortions.
“It’s time our legislation caught up to reflect society’s positive change in attitudes towards those born with disabilities and medical advances in the intervening years,” Bruce said.
Other efforts also are under way in the UK to provide at least some protections for babies with disabilities prior to birth. Disability rights advocate Heidi Crowter, who has Down syndrome, is challenging the British Abortion Act of 1967 in a lawsuit because it allows discriminatory late-term abortions on unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities.
Protecting unborn babies from discrimination and death is not deplorable. Killing unborn babies is, and it’s something society should work to end.