Time to Challenge The Conspiracy of Silence About Abortion – why Jeremy Hunt Is Right

With Jim Dobbin MP and Fiona Bruce MP, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary pro Life Group on the 2012 Right To Life Sponsored walk in the Ribble Valley

Time To Challenge The Conspiracy Of Silence About Abortion.

Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that he would favour a reduction in the abortion upper time limit to twelve weeks was as welcome as it was brave.
The reactions have ranged from the incandescent response of the Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper who said she was “chilled and appalled” to the equally predictable response of the Shadow Health Minister, Diane Abbott, that she was “staggered” and that it was “playing politics with people’s lives.”

What was also all too predictable was the BBC web site’s coverage of this issue – with four statments from organisations critical of Mr.Hunt and nothing reported from those who support him. The BBC Charter requires impartial reporting of ethical issues but that never applies when it comes to abortuon or euthanasia.

What I find truly staggering – to use Diane Abbott’s words – is that so little is said about abhorrent laws which permit the phenomenal loss of unborn life in this country – around 600 every working day; 189,574 in the past year and on track for 7 million since legalisation of abortion in 1967 –only 143 of which were undertaken where the mother’s life was at risk. 98% of all British abortions are done under the Abortion Act’s social clause – nothing to do with the hard cases with which we are regularly regaled. And abortion has become routine with 48,000 people having more than one abortion– some as many as eight.
As Disability Right campaigner, Ann Farmer, says: “Yvette Cooper complains that Mr Hunt “‘has given no serious consideration to women’s health”‘, but the feminist advocates of abortion who are now attacking him completely ignore the health implications for women, especially of late abortion, let alone the human rights implications for disabled people and the vested interests of BPAS. Our abortion laws are, and continue to be rooted not in feminism but in eugenics and the profit motive

In the case of disability, eugenic abortion is permitted up to and even during birth –recent figures revealing that 90% of babies with Down’s Syndrome are now killed in the womb. There were recently calls for “after birth abortion” allowing unwanted or sick babies to die rather than treat them in our NHS Hospitals. There have even been abortions simply on the grounds of a little girl’s gender – justified by some by some as a perfectly reasonable choice-driven decision. This is an unethical, impoverished, and inhumane defence of child destruction.

Against this backdrop the conspiracy of silence and manipulation of debate is indefensible. Our duty should always be to show compassion for the pregnant woman, perhaps abandoned or frightened, feeling she has been left with no choice, but we must also show compassion for the unborn child too.

It is now twenty four years since, in 1988, I laid a Bill before Parliament to reduce the upper time limit from 28 weeks to 18 weeks – and I pointed out at the time that the average European Union time limit then was around 12 weeks – and that remains the case. It is the UK which is out of step and Mr.Hunt is right to say so.

In a vote which I called in 1988 I was supported by 296 MPs, a majority of Members of the House of Commons – but the Bill was talked out by opponents.

Twenty four years ago I told Parliament that “Every country and every age will be judged by the simple test: how did they treat their people?” and I reminded the House of Commons what actually happens in the abortions in the private clinics which so many defend, and where most abortions take place (at a cost to British taxpayers of last year of £118 million, £75 million of which went to the private clinics):
“There is a chance that when prostaglandins is used in an abortion the child will be born alive. To avoid this a child is usually poisoned before the abortion. Because this is a long-drawn-out business, the method of late abortion used in private clinics is primarily dilatation and evacuation. By this method, the cervix is dilated and the baby’s body removed piece by piece. To facilitate its extraction from the womb, the skull is crushed, the spine snapped and the body removed piece by piece. An attendant nurse then has the job of reassembling the body to ensure that nothing has been left behind that might cause infection. Throughout this procedure no anaesthetic is used on the child.”

What is truly “appalling” and “chilling” Ms.Cooper, is that we permit such barbarism and that two decades later we still try to stifle any open debate about what is permitted behind the closed doors of these private clinics. In many political circles support for these laws has become a principal test for political sponsorship and advancement. Such intolerance has extended into the medical profession with two midwives recently taken to Court because they say that they didn’t wish to be involved in such procedures. Where here is respect for freedom of conscience – let alone the sacredness of life?

In 1988 I told the House of Commons, and it remains true today that:
“By 18 weeks, a foetus is not just a clump of tissues, not just a blob of jelly. The child has sentience and can feel pain. If a light is shone at its mother’s womb, the child will react and turn away. The child has a complete skeleton and reflexes. It pumps 50 pints of blood a day. A report “Human Procreation — Ethical Aspects of the New Techniques”, published by the Council for Science and Society — certainly not a body supporting my view—states that pain is experienced after the foetus has developed a nervous system, six weeks after pregnancy being the earliest.”

I cited Dr. Peter McCullagh, an eminent immunologist, who reported that research on foetal nervous systems showed that pain could be felt at eight or nine weeks, and perhaps earlier. He said that babies could be in agony during abortions.

Over twenty years ago a nurse wrote to me spelling out the realities of abortion:
“Sometimes the foetus lives for a few minutes though the harsh contractions caused by the drugs have usually battered it to death. I don’t know which is worse, those done in theatre, where you see the uterine contents being sucked into a bottle, or seeing the bruised bodies of these always perfectly formed foetuses in a receiver on the wall.”

This is a corrupting and degrading business for the medical staff who become the destroyers instead of the defenders of life.

The Health Secretary is right to have spoken out and right that there is a moral case for reducing the time limit. It is not he who should be asked to defend his remarks but those who defend what is permitted.

The unborn child at 18 weeks

The unborn child at 18 weeks

New Calls To End Eugenic Abortions In The Week A Judge Handed Down A Sentence of 8 Years For The Death of An Unborn Child

Down’s Syndrome – a death sentence for the baby but no prison sentence for those who end their lives.

A British Swimmer Who Has Downs Syndrome


In the same week that a  Judge handed down a sentence of eight years to a woman who killed her unborn baby at 39 weeks gestation, calls have been made to end eugenic abortions in Britain (see below).

There is a link between these two stories because if the convicted mother had been able to claim that her baby had a disability – such as cleft palate or Down’s Syndrome – she would legally have been able to kill the baby right up and even during its birth.

There is also a link, as the article below points out, between our celebration of the achievements of people with disabilities and our discriminatory abortion laws which single out babies with disabilities for “special” treatment – that is, their death. This is cold blooded eugenics – for which no sentence of years in jail is handed down to those who legislated to make it legal or those who end these babies lives.





The Telegraph:

Call for ban on disability abortions after Paralympics

19 September

The success of the Paralympics should trigger a rethink of Britain’s abortion laws to make it illegal to terminate a pregnancy because a child will be born disabled, a coalition of campaigners and charities argues today.

An alliance of pro-life campaigners and religious groups is launching a new push to restrict the 1967 Abortion Act, to prevent doctors terminating pregnancies on the grounds of physical abnormality.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, they describe the practice of aborting foetuses on physical grounds as a form of “eugenics”.

The letter, signed by leading figures from groups such as Life and the Pro-Life Alliance, as well as the Catholic Bishops Conference of Scotland and a number of evangelical Christian groups, argues that the current law enshrines a form of disability discrimination.

Also among the nine signatories is Peter Elliott, a businessman who founded the Down Syndrome Research Foundation UK, after the birth of his son, David, in 1985.

The signatories say that while pregnancies can be terminated even up to 40 weeks on physical grounds in certain circumstances, the moment the child is born a “moral volte-face” is performed and the official approach is “full of compassion”.

“The recent Paralympics made this contradiction yet more glaring,” the letter says.

“The athletes produced such astonishing examples of courage and triumphs over disability that we now have to rethink what we mean by ‘disabled’ and ‘able’.”

The 1967 abortion act, as it is currently applied, allows terminations up to 24 weeks if two doctors agree that the physical or mental health of a pregnant woman is in jeopardy.

After that, however, abortion is possible in cases in which there is a “substantial risk” that the child will suffer from a “serious handicap”.

It is also permitted in cases where the life of the mother is judged to be at risk from the continuation of the pregnancy.

The most recent figures available show that there were 146 abortions after the 24-week limit in 2011 in England and Wales out of a total of almost 190,000.

But overall there were more than 500 abortions after screening for Down’s Syndrome.

The campaigners argue that this amounts to a form of eugenics – the belief that a society can be “improved” through controlled breeding to increase the occurrences of desirable characteristics.

But supporters of abortion reacted with anger saying that the term – with its Nazi connotations – was an “insult” to women who had faced agonising choices.

“Eugenic abortion is bad medicine,” the letter states.

“Killing people with disabilities, rather than striving to support and care for them, is contrary to the high principles of medicine.”

They insist that the “positive and civilised” approach is exemplified by the work of baby hospices and greater research into fetal conditions rather than allowing terminations.

Prof Jack Scarisbrick, founder of the anti-abortion group Life, said that the group is hoping to mobilise pro-life MPs to bring forward a private members bill in the Commons to amend the act.

A simple two-clause bill could make it illegal to terminate a pregnancy after screening for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, he said.

“We are very hopeful that now we can make a move from a new direction, that rather than focusing on weeks and grounds for abortion we can tackle this particular aspect which we believe we can win.

“That would send a wonderful signal across the world.”

But Darinka Aleksic, campaigns coordinator at the Abortion Rights group, said: “Every year about one per cent of abortions are carried out on the grounds of fetal abnormality.

“A diagnosis of this sort places families in an extremely painful and difficult situation, which requires privacy and support as they decide whether to continue with the pregnancy.

“We believe that the decision is a matter for the parents and their doctors alone. It should not be used as a political football.

“Using terms like ‘eugenic abortion’ is an insult to people who are faced with this difficult choice.

“Pro-choice supporters respect the rights of all women, including those with disabilities, to make their own reproductive choices.

“We believe women are best placed to make the right decision for themselves and their families.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “There are some circumstances where the law permits an abortion beyond 24 weeks – for example where there is a substantial risk of serious physical or mental handicap.

“This decision is not taken lightly. Two doctors must agree on the seriousness of the handicap, while also taking into account the facts and circumstances of each individual case.

“The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ guideline on abortion and foetal abnormality is clear that a woman needs sufficient information and time to help her understand the nature of the foetal abnormality and the probable outcome of the pregnancy so that she is able to make an informed decision about the options available to her.”