We inthe Pro-life movement unequivocally reject this mentality. We believe that the mentally and physically disabled have just as much right to live as anyone else. It is nonsense to say that disabled people would be better off dead. Non-disabled people have no right to force their prejudices on disabled people in this way. As one disabled women said "I would rather not be disabled, but it does not follow I would rather be dead".
ABortion does not prevent disability. It does not cure or treat the condition. It simply kills disabled babies. What hypocricy to claim to be eliminating disability, when in reality it is the disabled themselves that are being eliminated. How would we react if it was suggested that we should 'cure cancer' by killing all the patients?
Why is our society so keen on aborting the handicapped and disabled? The Department of Health ans Social Security explained its reasons in Prevention and Health: Everybody's Business (HMS) 1976.
".........mongol children may require, as many do, eventually to be cared for by institutions......The grossly handicapped spina bifida child and adult makes large demands on the health and socila services. It seems likely that, in general, the cost of these demands will exceed the cost of a programme to detect the condition".
It is cheaprer to kill than to care. The truth is that the argument for aborting disabled babies is based on ignorance, fear, prejudice and agreed. It is unworthy of acivilised society.
August 1997 update( with appendix:1996 figures for England and Wales)
SINCE THE ABORTION ACT CAME IN TO FORCE IN APRIL 1968, MORE THAN FOUR AND A HALF MILLION UNBORN CHILDREN HAVE BEEN KILLED IN BRITAIN UNDER THE ACT.
In 1995, 163,621 abortions-448 a day were done in Engalnd and Wales (1), and 11,136-30 a day- in Scotland (2).
OVER 90% OF ABORTIONS ARE DONE FOR 'SOCIAL' REASONS
The most frequently cited ground for abortion refersa to "risk of injury to the physical or mentla health of the pregnant woman," of which the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has said: "there is no such injury in the majority of these cases as the' indication' is purely a social one."(3)
In 1990, pro-abortion MP Emma Nicholson referred to the' fiction that the 1967 Act does not provide abortions on request- of course it does...General Practitioners in my constituency and elsewhere tell me that it is virtually impossible for a Doctor to refuse an abortion under the workings of the 1967 Act."(4)
Only a tiny fraction of one per cent of abortions have been performed in emergency for the stated reason of saving the mother's life or preventing grave permanent injury to her health. In 1995, only one such abortion was performed in Scotland, and none in England and Wales.
ABORTION IS NOW LEGAL UP TO BIRTH ON GROUNDS OF HANDICAP
-and on grounds which permit some 'social' abortions. In 1995, 'substantial risk of the child being born seriously ahndicapped' was a ground cited in 1,868 abortions in England and Wales; 130 in Scotland. In ENgland and Wales, a totla of 73 abortions were performed at 25 weeks gestation and over: more than three times the anbnual number of post-24 week abortions before abortion up to birth came in to force in 1991. There were 5 post-24 week abortions in Scotland.
KILLING ON GROUND OF HANDICAP HAS NOT BEEN RESTRICTED TO UNBORN CHILDREN DESTROYED UNDER THE ABORTION ACT
Since the 1970's, newborn handicapped babies have been kililed in some hospitals (5), and in the 1990's several brain damaged adult patients have been starved to death with the approval of the courts. The first cases in England of court approved starvation was the killing of Tony Bland in 1993, and in Scotland, the killing of Janet Johnstone in 1996. There is evidence that acceptance of abortion, particularly on grounds of handicap, has fostered a mentality of lethal discrimination agianst the disabled.(5,6)
Moreover the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, which introduced abortion up to birth, also allowed destructive experiments on living human embryos (conceived through in vitro fertilisation) up to fourteen days after conception, and the discarding of IVF embryos, which is typically done if embryos, after screening, are found to be affected by a disabling genetic condition.(7).
ABORTION HAS NOT REDUCED THE PROBLEM OF CHILD ABUSE
Cases of physical abuse of children reported to the NSPCC more than doubled between 1977 and 1989 (8). In the same period, abortion rose from an annual total of 102,677 to 170,463 on England and Wales residents, and from 8,174 to 10,997 on Scottish residents. There are no grounds for claiming that child abuse has decreased since the Abortion Act.
ABORTION HAS NOT CURBED THE RISE IN BIRTHS OUTSIDE MARRIAGE
Live births outside marriage accounted for 12,9% of all live births in ENgland and Wales in 1981, but by 1991 accounted for 30.2% of all live births - despite abortion figures of over 160,000 every year in the same period.(9)
THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT THE ABORTION ACT HAS SAVED ONE WOMAN FROM DYING IN ILLEGAL ABORTION
Abortion deaths have fallen steeply since the 1950's, in line with all maternal deaths, owing to advances in medical science. The decrease cannot be atributed to the Abortion Act, since the steady annual decrease already evident in deaths from all causes among woman in their main childbearing years continued after the Act was implemented-with slight increases in Scotland in 1968 andin England and Wales in 1969.(10)
Government figures for 1991 to 1993 report no maternal deaths in the UK from illegal abortions, but five direct deaths from legal abortion. More direct maternal deaths followed legal abortion in that three year period than followed natural miscarriage, which led to three direct deaths.(11)
ABORTION CAUSES PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM TO WOMEN
In 1992, a review article in a medical journal reported that psychological or psychiatric disturbances occur in association with induced abortion, and seem to be 'marked, severe or persistent', in approximately 10% of cases. (12) The experience iof post-abortion counsellors indicates that the extent of the problem is only beginning to be recognised.(13)
LAWS AGAINST ABORTION ARE NOT BEING ENFORCED TO PROTECT EARLY EMBRYOS
'Post- coital'birth control (chiefly the morning-after pill) is primarily intended to work by preventing the successful implantation of a living embryo in the mother's womb (14)- not a contraceptive action but an early abortion. The post-coital pill and other methods of birth control which can kill embryos are distributed without reference to the terms of the Abortion Act. This is in spite of evidence that Britain's existing anti-abortion law (to which the Abortion Act establishes exceptions) was intended toi protect the unborn child from the time of conception (fertilisation).(15)
ABORTION BY GROUNDS: ENGLAND, WALES AND SCOTLAND,1995
In 1995, 174,757 aborton were done under the Abortion Act. The grounds given* were:
168,329 "risk of injury to physicasl or mental health of woman (pregnancy has not exceeded its 24th week**)" 14,129 "risk of injury to physical or mental health of existing child(ren) (pregnancy has not exceed its 24th week**)" 2,446 "to prevent grave permanent injury to physical or mental health of woman" 1,998 "sunstantial risk of cjild being born seriously handicapped" 135 "risk of life to woman" 1 "in emergency- to prevent grave permanent injury to physical or mental health of woman" 0 "in emergency- to save life of woman"
APPENDIX:ABORTIONS BY GROUNDS, ENGLAND AND WALES 1996 (Scottish figures are not available at time of writing) In 1996, 181,200 abortions were done in England and Wales under the Abortion Act. The grounds given* were:
169,980 'risk of injury tp physical or mental health of woman (pregnancy has not exceeded it's 24 th week**)' 12,137 'risk of injury to to physical or mental health of existing child(ren)(pregnancy has not exceeded it's 24th week**)' 2,447 ' to prevent grave permanent injury to physical or mental health of woman' 1,862 'substantial risk of child being born seriously ahndicapped' 134 'risk to life of woman' 2 'in emergency -tosave life of woman' 0 'in emergency -to prevent grave permanent injury to physical or mental health of woman'
There were 86 abortions stated to be at 25 weeks and over:around four times the number of post-24 week abortions before abortion up to birth came into force in 1991.
nb.*These figures represent the number of times each ground was mentioned. Since some notifications record more than one ground, the sum of these figures exceeds the total number of abortions.
**The weeks of pregnancy in abortion statistics refer to length of time from the first day of the mother's last menstrual period. The actual age of the baby (from conception) is usually two weeks less.
SPUC INFORMATION DEPARTMENT
August 1997 (BG)
For more information please contact the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, Phyliss Bowman House,5/6 St Matthew Street, London SW1P 2JT. Tel.0171 222 5845. Fax:0171 222 0630. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org