Friday, 31 August 2012

What does a paralympic swimmer and a militant pro-abortonist have in common?

Sadly (for the paralympic swimmer), they share the same name. Luckily, they do not share the same outlook on life for those living with a disability. 

As the Paralympics begin and the British media tries to ‘rally the troops’ for what feels like an afterthought, it is timely and appropriate that we consider the incredible hypocrisy which exists in our society and which is reflected and magnified in the media regarding abortion and those who live with disabilities. 

On the 26th of August, an article praising the Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds was published in the Sunday Telegraph. Simmonds was rightly commended for her fantastic achievement at Beijing 2008 (Simmonds became, at the age of 13, the youngest ever athlete to win a gold medal at a Paralympic Games). She also received an MBE in 2009 and was, again, the youngest person to be honoured with this award.  Simmonds does not focus on her disability (she was born with achondroplasia - a form of short-limbed dwarfism) - “I’m just small”. 

It is difficult to believe that the praise of the Paralympic athletes from some quarters is, however, sincere.  How can we possibly take seriously, for example, the adverts made by the televisual hosts of the games, Channel 4? It feels insincere when we proclaim that Paralympic athletes are ‘superhuman’ and in the same breath declare that abortion for disability is a ‘necessary evil’. Had Ellie Simmonds’ parents brought an end to her life while she was still a vulnerable and tiny human being in the womb, would anyone have protested against the execution of her mother’s ‘right to choose’? Perhaps our pro-abortion critics would answer that the essential difference is that they themselves did not protest -  that Simmonds’ parents ‘made their choice’.  One might well ask: who gave us the power to decide between life and death for any human being, to deprive them of their chance to live their life, and in Simmonds’ case, even to reach the heights of a gold medal at the Paralympic games? Even if Ellie Simmonds had never set foot in a swimming pool, even if she had never left hospital, her life is, and always has been from the moment of her conception, her own and worthy of being lived. 

In a 2001 article published by Spiked Online, Ann Furedi, current CEO of Bpas, and Dr. Ellie Lee, lecturer at the University of Kent, wrote that when a woman aborts her disabled baby, “[s]he is making a statement about herself; what she feels she can cope with and what she wants” and not a statement about the worth of people with disabilities in general.  Further on in the same article, the authors write that when a mother decides to abort her disabled child “It simply implies that she does not wish to be a mother to one”  (note the term “one”).  Furedi and Lee are clearly at ease using such dehumanizing language in relation to unborn children with disabilities (a few years back Lee went further and openly endorsed infanticide on the BBC’s Moral Maze. In the minds of Furedi and Lee, “Issues relating to disability rights are completely different to those relating to abortion”. 

In a 2003 article on abortion and disability by Dr. Lee, published by Pro-choice Forum, she writes that abortion legislation in the UK is too prohibitive. She wants to see it liberalized, including when it comes to aborting babies with a disability:

“the logical consequence of doing so is to draw the conclusion that, to put it bluntly, choice is choice. I know from my experience of making this point that some people - those who are pro-life and some of those with disabilities - get very upset about it. But it is hard to see how this issue can be avoided if we are to have an approach to abortion that is fair, coherent and moral.”

These are the sorts of pernicious ideas that people with disabilities and their supporters have to stave off. For Lee, a more liberalised abortion law is going to make the world more moral and fair.  It would be difficult to think of a better example of inverting the moral order, calling good bad and bad good. For the likes of Furedi and Lee, life will be better for the mother, and for society, when the ‘unwanted’ child with a disability is killed. Yet, comically, Furedi and Lee try to deny that they favour eugenics.  Less comic are the generous public funds that go toward funding the likes of these two, while the State sentimentally celebrates ‘the disabled’.

Of course if ‘choice’ justifies of itself, why do so many modern feminists protest against the abortions which target girls? Putting aside the contradiction in their attitude (how can aborting a girl because she is a girl be wrong when abortion is, they say, a woman’s right and a legitimate practice?), they are recognising that sex-selection abortion reflects the idea, prevalent in communities where sex-selection abortion is popular, that girls are not as ‘good’ as boys. They recognise that as long as girls are targeted in the womb, they will never attain equal status in society when they are born. In the same way, we cannot abort our disabled unborn children and then expect respect, love and support for those children who do ‘slip through the net’. 

A few months ago, a very telling article was published in the Guardian which chastised the government for cracking down on abortion clinics which carry out abortions on unborn children based on their sex, while a report had simultaneously been published which highlighted the lack of support for disabled children available today (long waits for wheelchairs, a lack of communication with the family about care for their disabled child etc). 

The journalist, a supporter of abortion, failed to see the contradiction between her two positions. Of course disabled children are at the bottom of the pile in the UK, of course they are neglected, of course they go without!  Disabled children are the lowest of the low when it comes to abortion. We know that it is almost taken for granted that a woman will abort her unborn baby if he or she has Down’s Syndrome, so why should we expect these children to be provided for when they are born?  Society needs to sit up and take notice of the horrible injustice which is being perpetrated against all unborn children who are aborted and most obviously  against those who are disabled. The Paralympics mean nothing, and are grossly hypocritical, if we refuse to protect (or, indeed, demand the destruction of) disabled members of our society in their hour of need: in the womb.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

One-handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy graduates from Royal College of Music

An inspiring story from The Telegraph, about a young man who was born with only one hand and went on to graduate from the Royal College of Music. Contrast this young man's life and what he's already achieved, with the pessimistic ideology of Bpas, Marie Stopes, Education for Choice and Abortion Rights who ardently defend the killing of unborn children in the womb because they have or are suspected of having a disability.
Nicholas McCarthy, 23, was told as a teenager that he was wasting everyone’s time by trying to learn the instrument with only one hand.

But he has now become the first one-handed pianist to complete his studies at the Royal College in its 130-year history. The musician has also joined Britain’s first disabled orchestra, the Paraorchestra, which played to Paralympic athletes to welcome them to London. Mr McCarthy, from Tadworth in Surrey, achieved his ambition by playing music written specifically for the left hand, including works by the Austrian composer Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm in the First World War. Ravel, Prokofiev and Bartok are among the composers who have written pieces for just the left hand. Mr McCarthy said being told by a head teacher that he would always be held back was “soul crushing” but made him more determined to succeed.

He was left to teach himself to play on an electric keyboard from Argos when he was a child, and only started piano lessons aged 14. "There are people in my position having counselling, and I just think: ‘Please get over it and make something of yourself.’ You can turn it into an advantage,” he said. He said of his Royal College achievement "I don't go around thinking of these milestones, but when my teacher rang me up and said 'you've made history', that felt good.

As a teenager seeking his first place at a school for young pianists, he was refused an audition and told he would never succeed. "It was soul crushing because that's all I wanted to do - I could feel it would be an uphill struggle, but it made me more determined, I'm quite a stubborn character" he said. He taught himself to play an electric keyboard from Argos as a young boy, but did not start piano lessons until he was 14.

He had planned to become a chef but changed his career path the moment a friend played him a piano sonata by Beethoven, which "dumbfounded" him. He said "I just fell in love with it and decided that was what I wanted to do. I started playing around with the piano and found it came very naturally."

At the age of 17 he secured a place at the junior department of London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, winning the annual piano prize. He then went on to the prestigious Royal College of Music in London, and has just graduated. The college's head of keyboard, Prof Vanessa Latarche, said her pupil had been "incredibly enterprising" in overcoming some big challenges such as developing the stamina to present a 50-minute recital with one arm. "He has been a great inspiration to many of his fellow students in showing what it is possible to achieve with a disability" she said.

Nicholas said "When I first joined the orchestra, a couple of the musicians who are partially sighted and blind didn't believe I was playing with one hand, that was a big compliment to me. "The music is all written for the left hand alone, I'm not changing anything, I'm playing the music as it was written. It's written very cleverly, but you've got to be very quick and good with the pedalling to sustain the bass notes while playing the top notes."

Nicholas said he thought a lot of people came to see him perform "for curiosity and think 'how is this possible?'"

Next week he will perform in Malta at the offices of the country's prime minister and in September he will headline his first evening concert at Fairfield Halls in Croydon.

"even more dedicated young adults working on their behalf"

As per last year, this year's SPUC interns went to a youth festival in Walsignham to promote the pro-life message and get people active about campaigning on behalf of vulnerable people in the womb. Below is a short account from one of our interns, about his few days in walsingham:
As an intern I had the privilege of helping to run the stall along with SPUC Scotland at the Youth 2000 festival in Walsingham over the bank holiday weekend, promoting the value of life to hundreds of young people and families.

We sold pro life merchandise as handing out free information packs that contained, key information about abortion, abortifacient contraceptives, SPUC’s campaign for marriage, as well as the Pro Life Times newspaper.

We also displayed a foetal model set showing development of the unborn child, which proved to be a useful visual aid especially for families with younger children.

We received lots of encouragement: from students interested in starting pro-life societies on their university campus, to teachers keen to get the pro life message into classrooms. One particular lady shared her concern about abortion, especially in her home country where abortion is at risk of being legalised. She was interested to know the situation in the UK and when I told her the abortion statistics in UK she was very shocked and upset. Another lady spoke of her experience overcoming an abortion she had earlier in her life, but now feels healed and says how a picture of an unborn child on a pro life leaflet helped her come to terms with it.

Lots of other people, who passed us were fascinated to see the size and development of the child in utero at 20 weeks. It was very encouraging to meet and discuss these issues with such a range of people and to see so many young people excited and passionate about life.
We've been busy over the summer at events such as the conference on disability and sport held in London, the Faith Summer Session, and Evangelium, as well as Walsingham. We've met hundreds of new people and given out 500 pro-life packs, so far. Now we're focused on cultivating the seeds sown and making sure the new academic year proves fruitful for unborn children, because we'll have even more dedicated young adults working on their behalf at universities and towns up and down the UK. 


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

URGENT: Consultation on Welsh presumed consent organ donation Bill closes in 2 weeks

The Welsh government has announced plans to introduce presumed consent for organ donation. They are calling it "deemed consent", in which people living in Wales for a period of six months or more will be opted-in automatically as organ donors. This will include prisoners, tourists, and students.

A consultation on the draft bill "Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill" opened on 18 June 2012, and closes on 10 September 2012. The consultation is open to everyone. SPUC has produced a briefing and summary assisting pro-lifers to fill in the consultation.

I blogged about the dangers of presumed consent for organ donation in January 2008 when Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister, wanted the law on organ donation to allow presumed consent, and July 2008 when the Welsh Assembly rejected presumed consent for organ donation.These measures could impact negatively on the seriously-ill and dying and their families, who may not be aware of medical controversies surrounding the determination of death which,
if known to them, might make some reluctant to donate their organs. The evidence seems mixed about whether such a change would increase the number of organs available. Some countries with presumed consent systems do worse than the UK but some do better, suggesting that other factors may be more important.

There are many serious objections to the proposals that are not addressed at all (or only inadequately) in setting out these proposals; most importantly the question of whether so-called ‘brain-death’ or ‘brain stem death’ is actual death. As David W Evans MD, FRCP has noted:
“the basis upon which a mortally sick patient is declared “deceased” – for the purpose of acquiring his or her organs for transplantation without legal difficulties – is very different from the basis upon which death is ordinarily diagnosed and certified and that highly relevant fact is not fully and generally understood.”
The proposals ignore the facts concerning this area of scientific dispute, yet this is a question with enormous ethical implications. Most organ donors are unaware that their hearts may be beating when their organs are taken, and that they may be pink, warm, able to heal wounds, fight infections,
respond to stimuli, etc.

They are also unaware of common practices of paralysing and (sometimes) anaesthetising supposedly brain-dead donors before their organs are taken.

Simply signing a donor card does not in any way indicate that the prospective consenting donor understands what will be involved, and those who are merely ‘presumed to consent’ are likely to know even less.

In other medical contexts, informed consent is the gold standard. So it really must be asked why in this particular setting informed consent is being set aside. Presumed consent effectively abolishes organ donation understood as a free gift (providing all ethical considerations are fulfilled).

The key documents are:

How to respond:
  • online:
  • email: fill in the consultation response form (above) and email it to Please mark the subject of your email: Consultation on the Draft Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill
  • post: print out the consultation response form (above), fill it in, and post it to: Organ Donation Legislation Team, Medical Directorate, 4th Floor, Welsh Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ
  • telephone: call the following number and ask for a response form to be posted to you. Large print, Braille, and alternative language versions are available. 029 2037 0011
Remember, the consultation is open to everyone, not just Welsh citizens or people living in Wales. 

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Life and Crimes of Margaret Sanger II: From Marx to Malthus

Birth Control is no new thing in human experience, and it has been practised in societies of the most various types and fortunes. But there can be little doubt that at the present time it is a test issue between two widely different interpretations of the word civilization, and of what is good in life and conduct. The way in which men and women range themselves in this controversy is more simply and directly indicative of their general intellectual quality than any other single indication. I do not wish to imply by this that the people who oppose are more or less intellectual than the people who advocate Birth Control, but only that they have fundamentally contrasted general ideas,—that, mentally, they are DIFFERENT. Very simple, very complex, very dull and very brilliant persons may be found in either camp, but all those in either camp have certain attitudes in common which they share with one another, and do not share with those in the other camp.”
We are living not in a simple and complete civilization, but in a conflict of at least two civilizations, based on entirely different fundamental ideas, pursuing different methods and with different aims and ends.

Margaret Sanger in 1922
These words of H. G. Wells', found in his introduction to Margaret Sanger’s 1922 work The Pivot of Civilization, clearly state the profound truth that of all the ideological conflicts of the early twentieth century the struggle for the control of human reproduction was to prove one of the most significant.[1] Those who advocated birth control wished then, and still wish today, to remould society according to their own ideological principles through ‘the control and guidance of the great natural instinct of sex’.[2] Control was central to Sanger’s philosophy. In The Pivot she stated “I [was] dominated by this conviction of the efficacy of "control,"' and decades later this conviction had not lessened. In 1955 she was to argue ‘I see no wider meaning of family planning than control and as for restriction…. [it] should be an order as [well as] an ideal for the betterment of the family and the race.’[3] This struggle for control has already claimed many millions of lives through abortion, euthanasia, genocide, embryo experimentation and artificial methods of reproduction. Margaret Sanger’s life, work and relationships exemplify the close interconnection between all the aspects of this struggle between two irreconcilable views of human civilisation.

Alice Drysdale-Vickery, founde... Digital ID: 1536944. New York Public LibraryIn The Pivot of Civilization Sanger explains her ‘conversion’ from Marxism to the ideology of eugenic birth control. She argues that, instead of pursuing violent revolution, those who seek to realise ‘the glorious vision of a new world, of a proletarian world emancipated, a Utopian world’ should pursue eugenic birth control.[4] Sanger, as we saw in the first part of this series, began as a socialist revolutionary. In The Pivot she explains how she lost faith in the standard Marxist narrative and began to associate the problems of poverty with ‘overpopulation’. ‘In spite of all my sympathy with the dream of liberated Labor’, she writes, ‘I was driven to ask whether this urging power of sex, this deep instinct, was not at least partially responsible, along with industrial injustice, for the widespread misery of the world.’[5] She travelled throughout Europe meeting with leading revolutionaries, including some of the most extreme anarchists such as Enrico Malatesta. It was in Britain however, amongst members of the Neo-Malthusian League and writers such as H. G. Wells, that she found a philosophy most congenial to her tastes. “I was encouraged and strengthened in this attitude” she recalls, “ by the support of certain leaders who had studied human nature and who had reached the same conclusion: that civilization could not solve the problem of Hunger until it recognized the titanic strength of the sexual instinct.”[6] Indeed she dedicated the The Pivot of Civilisation to Alice Drysdale Vickery (see picture to the right), a leading figure in the Neo-Malthusian league. This dedication, taken with Wells’ foreword and the appearance of a quote by Havelock Ellis on the title page, supports our conclusion that eugenics, birth control, abortion and disordered forms of sexuality are all closely connected.

We saw in the last post that Sanger was given millions of dollars by wealthy industrialists, and particularly by J. D. Rockefeller III, whose assassination she had called for not many years earlier. This ‘conversion’ from Marx to Malthus might seem surprising but it is not in fact very remarkable if we look a little deeper. It is a very common phenomena for revolutionaries to pass from one ideology to another even when the latter stands in contradiction to the former on central points. This occurs because a revolutionary like Sanger is really seeking the formula that will enable mankind, of its own efforts, to create a paradise on earth.[7] When a revolutionary no longer feels that their current methods will achieve their ends they will simply move on to another ideological position, often excoriating those who were until recently their allies.[8] This political messianism obviously stands in stark contrast to the doctrines of Christianity, which most ideologues therefore vociferously reject.[9]

Why then did Sanger adopt this particular ideology? In The Pivot of Civilisation she tells us that she felt that the progress of the working class was being held back by ‘the burden of their ever-growing families’.[10] ‘Something more’ she realised ‘than the purely economic interpretation was involved.’[11] This ‘something more’ was the ‘driving power of instinct, a power uncontrolled’.[12] Sanger believed that the inability of the working classes to control their sexual desires was the main cause poverty. It could be argued that her language in the The Pivot manifests a fear or disgust of healthy sexuality.[13] We know that Sanger’s own promiscuity was notorious. Is it possible that Sanger is projecting her fears about her own lack of self control onto working class women? Her awareness of her own sexual conduct and her consequent ‘need’ for birth control perhaps drove her to advocate that other women subject themselves, or be subjected, to the same control. It is surely of interest that her lover H. G. Wells presents a similar paradox. He also was a notorious adulterer, with at least one illegitimate child, and yet he argued that the reproduction of others needed to be controlled and that people who lacked ‘self-control’ were a threat to society. It has also been suggested by E. Michael Jones that Sanger’s zeal in advocating birth control was partially the result of the guilt she felt at having abandoned her daughter to the care of others while she was in England. [14] Peggy died shortly after Sanger returned to America and Jones argues that it was by convincing herself that she was working for the greater good of future generations of women that she was able to ease the pain suffered by her conscience, which accused her of betraying her own daughter. In any case, it is certainly true that many more mothers and children were about to suffer as a result of the life and crimes of Margaret Sanger.

To be continued…

[1] Margaret Sanger, The Pivot of Civilization, (New York, 1922)
[2] Ibid
[3] Quoted in Angela Franks, Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female Fertility, (Jefferson, 2005) p5
[4] Sanger, Pivot
[5] Ibid
[6] Ibid
[7] In The Pivot of Civilization Sanger argues that men and women must ‘light their way to self-salvation’, the Catholic Church being ‘organized to exploit the ignorance and the prejudices of the masses.’ She saw birth control as a way to ‘triumph finally in the war for human emancipation.’
[8] Much of The Pivot of Civilization is dedicated to attacking Marxism, but see Chapter VII in particular.
[9] For a classic example see Sanger’s attack on the Catholic Church in Chapter IX of The Pivot of Civilization.
[10] Sanger, Pivot
[11] Ibid
[12]  Ibid
[13] E.g. ‘blind and irresponsible play of the sexual instinct’, ‘sex as a factor in the perpetuation of poverty’,  ‘the fundamental relation between Sex and Hunger’, ‘the sexual and racial chaos into which the world has drifted’, ‘chance and chaotic breeding’, ‘the trap of compulsory maternity’, ‘the mother remains the passive victim of blind instinct’, and so on.
[14]   E. Michael Jones, Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control, (2005)

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Abortion and disability: some recent updates

Regarding abortion for disability, section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act 1967 (ground E) as amended, says: "there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped." This is an appalling eugenic clause in the Abortion Act. It is also one of the grounds for which abortion up to birth is permitted. 92% of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down's syndrome are killed by abortion. This has remained consist since 1989 when the National Down's Syndrome Cytogenetic Register began. There is also the fact that false positives happen: a prenatal test infers that the child has a malformation, when in fact the child has no such condition. 

The Department of Health abortion statistics for 2011 (published in May 2012) states the following hearbreaking statistics (emphasis mine):
Congenital malformations were reported as the principal medical condition in nearly half (45%; 1,046) of the 2,307 cases undertaken under ground E. The most commonly reported malformations were of the nervous system (23% of all ground E cases; 540) and the musculoskeletal system (7%; 160). Chromosomal abnormalities were reported as the principal medical condition for just over a third (39%; 889) of Ground E cases. Down’s syndrome was the most commonly reported chromosomal abnormality (22%; 511). As in each year since 1999, fewer than 10 abortions under ground E in 2011 were associated with rubella.
For abortions at 22 weeks or beyond, feticide is recommended prior to the evacuation of the uterus to stop the fetal heart. In 2011, of the 1,264 abortions performed at 22 weeks and over, 72% were reported as preceded by a feticide and a further 25% were performed by a method whereby the fetal heart is stopped as part of the procedure. 2% of abortions at 22 weeks or beyond were confirmed as having no feticide. For the remaining 4 cases, at the time of publication, we had not been able to confirm whether feticide had been performed.
In 2011, there were 72 abortions which involved selective terminations. In 37 cases, two fetuses were reduced to one fetus. In 18 cases, three fetuses were reduced to two fetuses and in 9 cases three fetuses were reduced to one fetus. Over three quarters (81%) of the selective terminations were performed under ground E [Section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act 1967 (as amended)].
Following a Freedom of Information request, the Department of Health was forced to publish detailed data sets on abortion for congenital malformations for years 2002-2010. This information is available on the Department's website. Further on in the abortion statistics, the Department of Health presents a detailed table of the specific congenital malformations that were cited as grounds for a eugenic abortion. Here is the table:

Recently in the House of Lords a question was asked about abortions performed at 24+ weeks gestation. A second question asked how many disabilities used to justify an abortion at 24+ weeks gestation were rectifiable:
  1. To ask Her Majesty's Government how many abortions were performed with respect to pregnancies with gestations of 24 weeks or more in 2011
  2. To ask Her Majesty's Government how many abortions conducted on the grounds of disabilities which are rectifiable were performed after 24 weeks' gestation in 2011.
Good probing questions, but let's be clear: whether a disability is rectifiable or not, eugenic abortion is eugenic abortion. Chromosomal conditions such as Down's syndrome, Edward's syndrome, Patau's syndrome, and Turner's syndrome are not rectifiable, but that does not mean killing those babies was less grave, or more justifiable.

Babies diagnosed with anencephaly cannot be cured, and will sadly die within a short time after birth, but that does not mean it is better to kill them before they are born. These babies still have equal human dignity, and killing them disregards this dignity. It also denies parents the chance to spend the few moments available with their baby before he or she passes away.

It should go without saying that babies with non-rectifiable congenital malformations have the same dignity and right to life as people without a congenital malformation, or  one that is rectifiable. In this country we also kill babies if they have a cleft lip and palate, or a clubfoot. 144 babies were killed because they had Spina bifida in 2011, yet the NHS website says:
"over recent years, advancements in the treatment of Spina bifida have resulted in a more positive outlook for the condition. Today it is likely that children will survive into adulthood. Spina bifida can be a challenging condition to live with, but many adults with the condition are able to lead independent and fulfilling lives."
We wouldn't kill a 6 month old baby because she had a cleft palate, or a toddler because she were missing a limb, or a teenager because they had Down's. Nor should we kill children at an earlier stage of development because of their having these conditions. However, we do know that disabled newly-born children are neglected to death both here and in The Netherlands.

It should also go without saying that it must be very difficult for parents who are told that their child will have a disability. However, they should be offered every support and not have abortion suggested as a solution, way out, or compassionate thing to do. It is a perversion of the medical profession and of parenthood to suggest, consent to, and carry out the killing of children, in the womb or outside it. Charities and associations exist which are exclusively focused on supporting people with these sorts of conditions, their parents and carers. Specialist medical, pastoral, and educational services are available.
    In reply to the questions asked, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) answered:
    There were 146 abortions performed in 2011 (the latest year for which data are available) with gestations of 24 weeks or more. The department does not collect information on whether or not a disability is rectifiable when a termination of pregnancy is carried out under Section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act 1967 (as amended).
    The condition cited is identified in accordance with the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems codes (ICD10). This classification does not separate out those conditions that are potentially rectifiable from those that are not. Two medical practitioners must certify that they have reached an opinion formed in good faith "that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped".
    In the UK we have abortion for social reasons virtually on demand in early pregnancy, and abortion up to birth for other reasons. 200,000+ abortions every year testify to that fact. The Abortion Act is a terrible piece of legislation and an unjust law.

    Wednesday, 1 August 2012

    Abortion to prevent grave permanent physical or mental injury: some updates

    Recently in the House of Lords this question was raised:
    "How many abortions have been performed under the provisions of the Abortion Act 1967 (as amended by Section 37 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990) to the latest date available; and how many of those abortions were to save the life of the pregnant woman."
    The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health Earl Howe replied:
    "Between 1968 and 2011 (the latest year for which figures are available) there have been 6.4 million abortions performed on residents of England and Wales. Of these, 143 (0.006%) were performed under Section 1(4), ie where the termination is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman. A further 23,778 (0.37%) abortions were performed under Section 1(1)(c), ie that the continuance of pregnancy would involve the risk to the life of the woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated."
    Clearly 143 unborn children killed is 143 too many. It is striking that the total number of abortions carried out on this ground accounts for 0.006% of all abortions, yet it is the argument that is heard almost 100% of the time when people want to justify abortion.

    People arguing for abortion will usually say we need abortion in cases where the woman might die; the evidence suggests that this argument is without real support. Maternal medicine has come a long way in managing the complications of pregnancy. In 1992, A group of Ireland’s top gynaecologists (John Bonner, Eamon O’Dwyer, David Jenkins, Kieran O’Driscoll, Julia Vaughan) published a letter in The Irish Times, stating:
    "We affirm that there are no medical circumstances justifying direct abortion, that is, no circumstances in which the life of a mother may only be saved by directly terminating the life of her unborn child."
    When Dublin’s National Maternity Hospital (where 10% of all births in Ireland occurred) investigated the 21 deaths of pregnant women there between 1970-1979, they found that not a single one of those deaths could have been avoided by abortion Incidentally, Ireland, a country where the unborn child is constitutionally protected, has the lowest maternal death rate in the world.

    As reported in May 1980's Moody Monthly, former Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. C. Everett Koop said: In my thirty-six years in pediatric surgery I have never known of one instance where the child had to be be aborted to save the mother's life."

    Even Planned Parenthood's Dr. Alan Guttmacher acknowledged in The Case for Legalized Abortion Now (Berkeley, Calif: Diablo Press, 1967):
    "Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and, if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save, life." 
    As SPUC's Anthony Ozimic recently told the press:
    "Abortion never saves a mother’s life or prevents harm to her health. In 1992, Ireland’s foremost obstetricians stated: “As obstetricians and gynaecologists, we affirm that there are no medical circumstances justifying direct abortion, that is, no circumstances in which the life of a mother may only be saved by directly terminating the life of her unborn child.” Abortion is not healthcare. It doesn’t treat any condition or cure any illness. 
    The unborn child can never be considered an aggressor against his or her mother, and that abortion for any reason is an violation of the right to life. People’s consciences have become coarsened by abortion, resulting in indifference, compromise and acceptance of abortion.
    Many mothers are being misled into accepting their doctor’s opinion that abortion is medically indicated in their circumstances. Also, mothers are often pressured into abortion. SPUC is working hard to get the truth about abortion and health to mothers and doctors. We also need to reverse the misanthropy prevalent in modern society which all too often gives up on human beings in the midst of difficulties. 
    The abortion industry is part of the banality of evil, which is modern society’s way of coarsening consciences and of bureaucratizing killing into insignificance."
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