Tuesday, October 27, will mark 48 years since the passing of the Abortion Act with around eight million abortions having been carried out in the UK since its inception. LIFE has called for a minute silence at noon on Tuesday in commemoration of the eight million lives lost since 1967, and to remember the harm that abortion has caused to many women over the years.
Proponents of the Act, and MPs who voted in its favour, never envisaged the scale at which abortions would take place today; a rate of one every three minutes. In 1967, no one imagined that abortion would be employed as a ‘quick-fix’ for women facing unintended pregnancies. The architect of the Abortion Act, Lord David Steel, lamented in 2013: “It is odd that so many women present for repeat abortions, some more than twice, which does suggest they are treating abortion as contraception. This was never the purpose of the 1967 reform.”
But after 48 years and so many lives extinguished, we must ask the question, has abortion done any good for women? While those who voted in favour of the Abortion Act undoubtedly did so out of care and compassion, our experience at LIFE is that abortion hurts women, and that women are better empowered through practical and emotional support which enables them to keep their child.
While abortion providers in the UK claim to be “supporting” women, it is easy to see why the interests of women are diluted in an industry which has profit at its core. In contrast, last year, LIFE’s free care service reached more than 3,000 women, many of whom were facing crisis pregnancies and others who were struggling to deal with the psychological scars of abortion. We know that women can be hurt by abortion. It is ironic that every year more than 98 per cent of all abortions are performed to protect the mental health of the mother, and yet we see how many women suffer with feelings of loss, guilt, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues, in the years that follow.
The National Collaborating Centre in a 2011 study found that “there were some additional factors associated with an increased risk of mental health problems specifically related to abortion, such as pressure from a partner to have an abortion”. This is very much our experience at LIFE, which causes us to question how many women are genuinely seeking abortions in order to exercise their own ‘choice’?
Far from empowering women, the 1967 Abortion Act has left a trail of destruction in its wake. With more than 190,000 abortions now taking place each year, discarded foetuses being used to heat NHS hospitals, doctors pre-signing HSA1 abortion forms, more than 90 per cent of babies with down syndrome being aborted, sex-selective abortions occurring across the country and repeat abortions at an all-time high – the Abortion Act has left a deep wound in the heart of Britain.
It is clear that there has been a deliberate misuse of the Abortion Act by the abortion industry in this country, yet despite this Amnesty International have seen fit to collude with the abortion industry by trying to force abortion onto Ireland. Shame on them!
However, in the same breath, there is hope. Technology has come a long way since 1967; the advent of the 4D ultrasound has transformed the debate on abortion, as the humanity of the unborn child is shown in all its beauty for the world to see – providing a vital connection between the mother and her child. But this has also meant post-abortive women are now brought face-to-face with the reality of their loss.
In recent years, more and more women have called for greater restrictions on abortion. More women than men want to see the abortion time limit reduced, as well as doctors prosecuted for performing illegal abortions. The tide is turning against the abortion industry and women are speaking out. Let’s listen to them as we try to mitigate the consequences of 48 years of abortion. So please remember these women as you join LIFE for a minute silence at noon on Tuesday to remember eight million unborn children lost since 1967.
Anne Scanlan is LIFE’s director of Education and Media