Today, as a result of losing a six year long court battle to the ProLife Alliance (see my earlier blog), the Department of Health was finally forced to disclose the abortion statistics that it has been hiding since 2002.
The Department had been refusing to reveal the abortion numbers in any category where there were less than ten on the spurious grounds of protecting patient confidentiality. But after a long running fight they finally caved in and published the missing numbers.
The ProLife Alliance, said today: 'This is a great victory for transparency and freedom of speech and we are delighted that full information about the justification for late abortions is now being made available in the same detail as it was in 2001.'
The statistics, released today, reveal that between 2002 and 2010 there were 17,983 terminations on the grounds that there was a ‘substantial risk’ that the babies would be ‘seriously handicapped’ — known as Ground E abortions. The overwhelming majority of these were compatible with life outside the womb.
Of the 17,983, a total of 1,189 babies were aborted after 24 weeks, the accepted age of viability, after which there must be such a serious risk for an abortion to be legal if the mother is not in danger.
Figures also showed a total of 66 terminations after 24 weeks were because of problems with the nervous system of the foetus, such as spina bifida.
The abortions included 26 for babies with cleft lips or palates and another 27 with ‘congenital malformations of the ear, eye, face or neck’, which can include problems such as having glaucoma or being born with an ear missing. Of those, one was aborted after 24 weeks, in 2003.
Last year 147 babies were aborted after 24 weeks, a rise of 29 per cent since 2002. Altogether in 2010, 482 babies were aborted for Down's syndrome, including 10 who were over 24 weeks. Over the period 2002-2010 there were altogether 3,968 Down’s syndrome babies aborted. There were also 128 terminations in 2010 for the nervous disorder spina bifida, including 12 after 24 weeks.
Abortion is legal in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy if the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s mental or physical health greater than that from having an abortion. About 98% of abortions are carried out on somewhat spurious mental health grounds. But after 24 weeks, an abortion is allowed only if there is substantial risk of ‘serious’ physical or mental abnormality, or the woman’s life is in danger.
The Department of Health also released figures on abortions to under-16s between 2002 and 2010. There were an astonishing 35,262 terminations during this period including 74 on twelve year olds.
In 2010 there were 3,718 under-16s abortions in England, including 2,676 to 15-year-olds, 906 to 14-year-olds, 134 to 13-year-olds and two to 12-year-olds.
The figures are a chilling testimony to a growing eugenic mindset in Britain, where babies with disabilities are eradicated before birth so as not to place a burden on families, society or the health service. They are also another nail in the coffin of the last government’s failed teenage sexuality strategy.
There is still a lot that remains unrevealed – like the numbers of late abortions and abortions for disability in each category carried out by the publically financed private sector, the grounds on which all late abortions were authorized and the number of teenagers who had two or more abortions.
But these numbers alone will shock many members of the public who up until this stage have simply been ignorant about what really goes on behind closed doors.
Every life lost is a tragedy; and of course these 18,000 abortions constitute only a fraction (1%) of the over seven million there have been in the UK since the Abortion Act was passed in 1967.