The Dignitatis Humanae Institute has called on the UK government to show “full clarity” on the country’s abortion statistics after it was revealed that significantly more taxpayers’ money has been going to private abortion providers than the government had been claiming.
Under revised figures revealed this week by the Department of Health, taxpayers spent £118m on abortions in 2010 – nearly £30m more than previously stated – of which £75m went to private clinics and £44m to NHS bodies.
The government’s initial figures had estimated a total of £90m of taxpayers’ money was spent on abortions of which £8m was said to have gone to independent providers such as Marie Stopes International and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, with the rest being paid to NHS organisations.
“For too long these figures have been shielded from the public domain,” said Lord Nicholas Windsor, Chairman of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute. “The question of abortion is a national one. For there ever to be a true national debate on an issue that affects so many lives, born and unborn, we need full clarity on the figures and practices of abortion in this country.”
Lord Alton of Liverpool, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Dignity, said that this “underlines how little value we place, in every respect, on human life when we can’t even say with any accuracy how many unborn lives we end.”
The crossbench peer obtained the correct statistics this week after writing to Earl Howe, health minister in the House of Lords. Earl Howe admitted that “concerns” had been raised about these calculations, partly because organisations have interpreted guidance on collecting costs in different ways.
The updated government figures show that each abortion is now estimated to cost taxpayers £680 rather than £660 previously stated.
“The fact that the British taxpayer is spending anything on abortions is already a tragedy,” Lord Alton said. “But to learn that we, as a nation, are spending millions more than previously thought, and a large proportion of this expenditure going to private clinics who also offer counselling, adds even greater urgency to end public funding.”
He added: “These new findings show that the recent campaign to sever the multi-million pound funding of organisations that offer both counselling to pregnant women and terminations was absolutely right.”
The pro-life peer invited the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, through its parliamentary working groups, to “closely monitor governments around the world who may similarly be withholding the truth about abortion statistics and public funding for terminations.”
* Earl Howe’s letter to Lord Alton can be read here.