A deeply entrenched culture of death

By Dave Andrusko

Lord David Alton

Writing at National Review Online, Charles C.W. Cooke reviews the sad state of affairs in England and Wales. He reminds the reader that abortion was legalized in 1967 using the same over-the-top, no connection to reality arguments. The bottom line was that the law was carried across the finish line by the emphasis on the need to stop “back alley abortions” and to safeguard the physical or mental health of pregnant women.

The mental health component has proven in practice to be almost infinitely expandable. Cooke lays out the language of the law which theoretically set limit and then correctly observes

“no serious observer can contend that the law passed in 1967 bears any meaningful resemblance to the abortion-on-demand culture in Britain that it has created — a culture made infinitely worse by the availability of the procedure via the taxpayer-funded National Health Service. To make the case that the reality and the law are consistent, one has to argue that there have been 6 million cases since 1968 in which termination was ‘necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.’ Not only does this require that we stretch the definition of ‘mental health’ beyond any credible bounds, but even a cursory glance at the reasons that women who have abortions give for their decision dispels the notion that ‘mental health’ is anything more than a box checked on a hospital form. Few Britons would deny that, ultimately, most women have abortions because they can, and not because there is a medical emergency. As the BBC argued in 2008, ‘technically the law did not legalise
abortions, but rather provided a legal defence for those carrying them out.’”

A recent report concluded that between 1968 and 2011, 6.4 million abortions have been performed on residents of England and Wales. (These numbers were in response to a Parliamentary Question by Lord David Alton.)

We read that 0.006% “were performed to save the life of the mother or to prevent serious permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the mother,” Cooke writes, quoting from a story from the Christian Institute. And a further 0.37% of these abortions “were performed because the continuance of pregnancy would involve the risk to the life of the woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated.”

Cooke quotes from Lord Alton’s blog where he writes

“When the case for allowing legal abortion was first placed before Parliament it was argued that the law needed to be changed to deal with extremely serious situations.

“More than 6 million abortions later the figures reveal that in 99.5% of cases where an unborn child’s life is ended there is no risk to the health of the mother.

“Other figures reveal that 3 teenage girls have had 24 abortions between them and that some women have had more than 8 legal abortions.”

A sad, very sad state of affairs. All the more reason to pray for the work of pro-lifers in Great Britain as they fight a deeply entrenched culture of death.

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