Abortions for residents of England and Wales hits all-time high

Abortion numbers hit an all-time high of 200,608 abortions in 2018 for residents of England and Wales, according to the latest figures released by the Department for Health on 13th June 2019.

Total abortions numbers, including non-residents, hit a ten year high with 205,295 abortions in England and Wales in 2018, This represents an overall increase of 7,762 abortions from 2017.

In addition to this overall increase, the figures show a rise in the number of repeat abortions from 74,204 in 2017 to 78,998 in 2018. This means that in 2018, over 39% of all abortions were performed on women who had at least one abortion on a prior occasion.

111 “selective terminations” were performed in 2018, whereby if a woman is pregnant with multiple babies, usually twins or triplets, she can choose to undergo a ‘selective reduction abortion’.

Number of abortion for disability between 24 weeks and birth increased by 128% in ten years

The number of abortions for disability 24 weeks has increased by 128% since 2008 and campaign groups such as Don’t Screen Us Out – who have worked to highlight their concerns that new cf-DNA screening for Down’s syndrome would likely increase the rate at which children with Down’s Syndrome are aborted – have highlighted the 618 abortions for Down’s syndrome in 2018.

In the last 10 years, there has been a 42% increase in abortion for Down’s syndrome and a 64% increase in abortions after 24-weeks gestation for Down’s syndrome. Currently the law in England and Wales permits abortion up until birth if there is a diagnosis of disability, like Down’s syndrome, in the womb. The increase in abortions for Down’s syndrome is likely the result of new prenatal testing technology.

Lynn Murray, spokesperson for Don’t Screen Us Out who has a daughter with Down’s Syndrome said:

“It is deeply concerning that despite the leaps that advocacy groups have made in raising awareness in support of people with Down’s syndrome, abortion in the case of Down’s syndrome is still so commonplace and widespread in the UK… we hear from parents all the time how abortion was repeatedly presented to them in the hospital as an obvious solution following the receipt of the news that their baby had Down’s syndrome.”

Private abortion providers increase share of abortions

As the number of abortions overall have increased, so has the percentage of abortions performed by private abortion providers, who, in 2018, were responsible for 72% of all the abortions in England and Wales. Since 1999, there has been a 234% increase in the number of abortions performed by private providers.

This increase in private abortions comes at the same time as a recent report from the Care Quality Commission which accused Marie Stopes International of paying staff bonuses for encouraging women to undergo terminations.

At all 70 clinics, inspectors found evidence of a policy which saw staff using a high-pressure sales tactic, by calling women who had already decided against abortion to offer them another appointment.

Staff told CQC inspectors the Maidstone clinic was like a “cattle market” and described a “very target-driven culture”.

Spokesperson for Right to Life, Clare McCarthy said:

“Vulnerable women should not be seen as a revenue opportunity but sadly we know this is not the reality as abortion itself is a multi-million pound industry. Private abortion clinics have a vested monetary interest in increasing the numbers of abortions they perform every year.”

“It is a national tragedy that 205,295 lives were lost to abortion in 2018. This is the highest the abortion rate has been at in 10 years. Every one of these abortions represents a failure of our society to protect the lives of babies in the womb and a failure to offer full support to women with unplanned pregnancies.”

She also highlighted the majority of women in the UK who support a change in the abortion law saying “70% of women want the current time limit on abortion to be lowered and 91% of women want a ban on sex-selective abortion.”

UK mother told to have abortion 10 times after baby found to have disability

A woman from Liverpool, Natalie Halson, was offered an abortion 10 times when she was pregnant with her daughter, Mirabelle, who was diagnosed in the as having spina bifida.

At every appointment, right up until the birth of her daughter, Natalie was repeatedly asked if she would like to abort her baby. Not knowing why the doctors kept doing so, Natalie eventually found out about her daughter’s medical condition which meant that part of her spine and spinal cord had not developed properly. This can cause paralysis of the legs, bowel or urinary incontinence, and even brain damage.

“I found out as much as I could and realised that there were options, I refused to give up on my baby but the medics just wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“It was so insistent even after I’d repeatedly said no but it was getting offered a termination just weeks before she was born that really upset me.

The doctors implied “an abortion was [her] only option and explained that if [she] went ahead with the pregnancy [her] baby would be wheelchair bound and have no quality of life.”

It was only after Mirabelle’s mother was able to do the research that she discovered that life for her daughter was not over, admitting that “If I’d not had that time to do my research I might have even agreed to the termination.”

Mirabelle was eventually born via an emergency C-section at Liverpool Women’s Hospital at 38 weeks, but was immediately taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for a spinal operation.

“They operated on Mirabelle’s spine the day after she was born, it was a horrible anxious wait as it lasted about 12 hours, but the doctors were really happy with her progress afterwards.

After a month of visiting the newborn in hospital, she was finally allowed to take Mirabelle home. It seems likely that her daughter will have a normal life

“I would recommend to any parents who are advised to abort that it isn’t the only option, no matter what the hospitals try and tell them.” Natalie said

Clare McCarthy from Right To Life UK said:

“This is a wonderful outcome to what could have been a very sad story. It is deeply disappointing that Natalie’s doctors’ first – and apparently only – ‘solution’ to a diagnosis of spina bifida was abortion.”

“The discrimination towards children with disabilities on display here is appalling. All children, disabled or not, deserve a chance at life and it is a gross failure of professional responsibility for the doctors in this case to push abortion in a situation where it is not required or desired.”

“The attitude of the doctors in this case is particularly inexcusable given the recent advances in medical technology. In May this year, for example, doctors performed corrective spinal surgery on a child who was still in the womb. Whilst this may not have been appropriate here, the very fact that Mirabelle is now healthy after her operation proves that there was life changing medical care available to her, rather than abortion.”