Last week the Academy of Royal Colleges presented a report which, as a result of the strong spin in an accompanying press release, was widely reported as ‘proving’ that abortion was no worse for mental health than childbirth for women with unwanted pregnancies.
These strong conclusions, as I have already argued, were based on weak data from just four studies. Furthermore the author of the strongest of the four studies, David Fergusson, has already disputed the conclusions.
That particular debate will no doubt rage on and on.
But the most interesting conclusion to follow from last week’s report is that 98% of abortions are actually illegal. When I made this claim last week on Radio Four the presenter John Humphries gasped and almost jumped off his chair. But no one has since seriously or publicly disputed it.
Almost all abortions in Britain are indeed carried out on the grounds that the continuance of the pregnancy constitutes a greater risk to the mental health of the mother than abortion does, something that the author of the report, Professor Tim Kendall, explicitly confirmed in our Today Programme debate on 8 December. And yet there is no evidence that continuing a pregnancy ever poses a greater mental health risk than abortion.
This means that when two doctors sign forms saying that ‘in good faith’ they believe that having an abortion will lead to better mental health outcomes they are committing a form of perjury under section five of the Perjury Act 1911. And when a third doctor performs the abortion on the strength of that certificate he is actually carrying out an ‘unlawful killing’ under the terms of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
It has been interesting to see the pro-abortion lobby reacting to this new challenge.
Jeremy Laurance, in the Independent, a strongly pro-abortion journalist, wrote last week:
‘Reassuring as that finding may be for the 200,000 women who have abortions in the UK each year, it does raise a tricky question. To obtain an abortion women must to find two doctors who will authorise it. By far the commonest ground, cited in nine out of 10 abortions, is that to proceed with the pregnancy would put the mental health of the woman at risk. This study appears to put that ground in jeopardy.’
Yes exactly Jeremy. Except that the figure I think you will find if you look at section 2.8 of the 2010 abortion statistics is 98% and not ‘nine out of ten’.
Laurance goes on to report reaction to this disturbing fact:
‘Abortion organisations were split in response to the finding, with half still insisting a termination did permanent damage to women's souls, with the other, cannier, half hoping the finding was true so that they could challenge the legality of the procedure.’
Again this is interesting spin. Note that he doesn’t name any pro-abortion organizations specifically and I have been unable thus far to find any quotes from them in the public domain. As there are only really two main pro-abortion organisations, BPAS and MSI, it raises the interesting question of which said what to Laurance on the phone. But regardless, Laurance should have called the ‘cannier’ half the more ‘honest’ half because the finding itself is not in doubt.
Laurance goes on to report that:
‘The authors of the study reject this challenge, insisting the findings could indicate doctors are successfully identifying women at risk from the pregnancy, and referring them for abortion to obviate it.’
Now that I find fascinating because, again, they have not said this publicly. And do they really expect us to believe that this is the case for each of the 185,000 abortions carried out every year?
But now we see the real agenda exposed in Laurance’s conclusion:
‘It is clear already that this world-beating review, despite its size, will not settle the debate. But it is surely time now, in the wake of its findings, to abandon the pretence of "grounds" for abortion and acknowledge, once and for all, that it is a woman's right to choose.’
In other words if 98% of abortions are illegal then let’s change the law to make them legal!
Deborah Orr, writing this week in the Guardian, is more honest than Laurance about the true implications of the report.
‘But pro-abortion groups have something to learn from this research as well, and to campaign for. In Britain an abortion can only be given if two doctors authorise it. In the absence of any other medical reason, they tend to agree that it would be bad for the mental health of a woman if the pregnancy continued.
Mostly, people know that this is poppycock, something that three people have to conspire to say in order to tick the boxes that earn the right to have a medical procedure that is requested, perfectly sanely, because they don't feel that they are in a position to have a child. It is ridiculous, infantilising, that women must play the "it'll drive me to despair" card in order to obtain a sensible intervention. It is appalling, too, that medical professionals are obliged to play along. The only really important opinion about the suitability of an abortion is that of the pregnant woman. The excuse of dire effects on her mental health has always been an insulting and craven figleaf. It has to go.’
So she admits that for most abortions in Britain to be carried out three doctors have to, knowingly and wilfully, break the law. So she concludes’ ‘Let’s change the law’.
What we actually have here, by the liberal press’s own admission is a culture of ‘unlawful killing’ and ‘perjury’ to which the police, the judiciary, the crown prosecution service and parliament are turning a blind eye. Furthermore it is leading to 185,000 deaths a year and has resulted in over 7 million deaths altogether since the Abortion Act was passed in 1967.
This bears striking similarities to MPs’ expenses’ scandal where everyone was breaking the rules but no one was doing anything about it because so many were involved.
In that case it needed the Daily Telegraph to take up the cause for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. Money wrongly obtained was repaid and some MPs went to prison.
In the case of abortion, of course, the lives of those seven million British lives taken by abortion can not be brought back. But justice can still be done and still be seen to be done.
But in order for that to happen the police, the crown prosecution service and the courts will have to begin doing the job they are actually paid to do, which is to uphold the law.
I wonder if any British newspaper is as concerned about seven million unlawful deaths as the Daily Telegraph was about a few hundred thousand pounds of taxpayers’ money.