Saturday 3 November 2012

One in three human deaths in England and Wales is that of a preborn baby

Last month I posted a blog titled ‘27% of all human deaths in England and Wales are due to abortion’.

It was prompted by an article on the Guardian website titled ‘Mortality statistics: every cause of death in England and Wales, visualised’ which claimed to give ‘a full listing of “all” deaths in England and Wales in 2010.

They used the graphic above left to illustrate it with the largest circles representing the 158,084 deaths from circulatory diseases, 141,446 from cancers and neoplasms and 67,276 from respiratory diseases.

I pointed out that it did not include the 189,574 induced abortions that took place in England and Wales that year and that, if one reworked the figures, these actually constituted 27% of all deaths – over one in four.

Another blogger, Mark Whalley, told me that he had earlier reworked the graphic to include abortions and posted it on his own website.

I have reproduced Mark’s revision here showing abortions (blue circles on right) as the biggest cause of death.

Mark made the point on my blog that I should also include miscarriages and another correspondent suggested that if I did so it would make my figures ‘less polemic’.

It is impossible to know the actual numbers of very early miscarriages or chemical abortions, those occurring without a lost menstrual period, and estimates vary widely based largely on guesswork. At best we could have only a very rough estimate.

In addition there are no national statistics for Britain are published on ‘miscarriages’ but a BMJ article has calculated them at 70,000-90,000 per year in England and Wales. So let’s say approximately 80,000.

If we include these 80,000 and add them to the 189,574 induced abortions and 493,242 deaths from all other causes we get to a total of just under 763,000 human deaths in England and Wales in 2010.

So of all human deaths this year induced abortions constituted roughly 24.8% and miscarriages 10.5%.

So in total 35.3% of all human deaths – over one in three - were preborn babies.

Now this is where it gets interesting.

Professor Lord Robert Winston (left) has recently given his support to a new charity running remembrance services in Britain’s cathedrals for families who have had miscarriages. He writes:

‘Miscarriage is often something that’s not acknowledged or talked about in the UK, and people certainly do not appreciate how utterly distressing it is for women, and indeed their extended families. It’s a loss of a precious life, and whether the loss happens in early or late pregnancy it’s traumatic, and a natural grief process must be allowed to happen.’

I agree with him that miscarriage is not talked about enough and that it involves the loss of a precious life.

But if the baby who miscarries is precious then doesn’t the same also follow for those babies who die as a result of abortion?

Or have I missed something?


  1. I rather think the term "embryo or fetus" is more appropriate than "pre-born baby". The term "baby" cannot really be meaningfully applied to a pre-24 week fetus.

    1. Did your wife call your own children 'my fetus' or 'my embryo' when they were in utero? Did you? Somehow I doubt it.

    2. Have you ever seen a baby born before 24 weeks, mine was perfectly formed at 20 weeks and was most certainly a baby. In fact he was beautiful.

  2. @Shane... oh really? I saw my 15 year old daughter's heart beating at 5 weeks of gestation (3 weeks post-conception). I assure you, she was very much my "baby" at that point...

  3. Shane

    We lost two of my boys at age 20 and 24 weeks. They were born overseas and after the boys were delivered they were given to us in a tiny box to allow us to say our goodbyes.

    I was shocked to see how fully formed they were.

    You don't want to call them babies, then I don't want to call you human. I could call you a lot of other things but my comment would be deleted and I want this published.

    Want to volunteer for euthanasia Shane? I am happy to help you.


  4. Shocking that so many women would rather kill a child than keeps their legs together or use contraception. Also the men that think leaving contraception upto the woman & risk putting them in the position of having an abortion is frankly disgusting. Maybe we should be teaching our sons & daughters that although they are free to have sex with whoever they choose doesnt mean they have to. I don't say this for religious reasons as I believe religion to be full of hypocrisy when it comes to Morality. I do however believe that life is sacred & should not be created on a drunken Friday or Saturday night in a nightclub toilet.

  5. A fetus is a remarkable thing. But it is not a baby or a child, whatever the lingo we use. Maybe you guys should have a look at a chimp embryo or fetus. You'd have difficulty telling the difference. None if this impacts on the personal loss of potential and deep grief felt by parents, but it is irrelevant to the moral status of the embryo/fetus, which is the serious lie Peter is trying to propagate. The concept here is, and always has been, that of personhood - when an organism has moral interests in its own right, independent of the wishes of others.

    1. My view is quite simple Shane, that all human lives are human persons with rights. This is the view taken traditionally by the medical profession and upheld in both the Hippocratic Oath, which forbids abortion, and the Declaration of Geneva, which calls on doctors to maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception.

      Your view is that a human life needs a certain level of neurological development before it can be accorded the right not to be killed. This is, I would respectfully suggest, the real serious lie.


  6. Shane,

    >> when an organism has moral interests in its own right, independent of the wishes of others.

    What a load of twaddle - and you a doctor, matey.

    A newborn infant has no "moral interests", so presumably it lacks personhood and is a legitimate target for murder?

    The fact that a human fetus looks pretty much like that of a chimp is neither here nor there. Some human beings look very much like chimps too (have you seen Dubya?).



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