U.K. releases eugenic numbers
The United Kingdom’s Department of Health (DoH) released detailed statistics about eugenic abortions several years after a pro-life group demanded the information. The UK-based ProLife Alliance filed a Freedom of Information request in February 2005 for more information about abortions due to fetal health. “Previously, this information had been readily available and the DoH was increasingly providing even greater detail in its annual abortion statistics, until one case for cleft palate abortion post 24 weeks became the focus of media interest and public outrage,” said the group in a press release. “Subsequently, yearly abortion statistics were published in reduced form.” In 2009, the DoH argued against releasing the statistics because it could lead to the identification of women who had late-term abortions. The High Court ruled against the DoH in April and statistics were released in July.
U.K. law allows abortions beyond the 24-week gestational limit only if doctors believe the child has a “substantial risk” of having a “serious” disability. According to the official statistics, 18,000 children were killed between 2002 and 2010 because they were at risk of being disabled including 3,890 with Down’s syndrome and 26 with cleft lip and palate after the 24-week limit. In 2010 alone, 482 children with Down’s syndrome, 7 with a cleft lip and palate, 181 with musculoskeletal problems, 189 with anencephaly, and 128 with spina bifida were aborted.
“The Pro-life Alliance is opposed to all abortion at any stage in pregnancy, but terminating the lives of babies at gestational ages when they could survive is always particularly horrifying,” alliance spokesman Julia Millington told the Daily Mail.
Pro-abortion advocates lashed out at the pro-life groups. “Behind every one of these figures are doctors and nurses who deserve our admiration and support, and a couple who have often lost a much-wanted pregnancy,” said Ann Furendi, chief executive of the pro-abortion British Pregnancy Advisory Service, calling the effort made by pro-lifers to release the statistics vindictive.
“Between 2001 and 2010, the number of abortions on the ground of disability rose by one-third, 10 times that of abortions generally. It is clear that legal abortion is a system which discriminates, fatally, against the disabled,” commented Anthony Ozimic, the communications manager of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in a press release. He also commented that Furendi’s comments were “extremist” and that abortions are never necessary. “It is grossly misleading of Furedi to imply that aborted babies are merely ‘lost,’ as one might describe a miscarriage.”
There are no statistics for eugenic abortions conducted in Canada. “You don’t have to give a reason in Canada to have an abortion,” said Louise Harbour, executive director of Ottawa-based Action Life. Nevertheless, it is important to have these statistics. “It gives a clear picture of the abortion situation in Canada,” Harbour told The Interim, whether for social, socioeconomic, or eugenic reasons.