Following the latest abortion statistics for England and Wales, demonstrating a disturbing trend in multiple abortions, Lord Alton, Chairman of the British Parliament’s Cross-Party Working Group on Human Dignity, has called on the UK government to instigate an independent inquiry into the workings of the Abortion Act. The recently released 2011 statistics show that 36 per cent of women undergoing abortions in 2011 had already been through at least one other abortion, with one report pointing to three teenage girls who, between them, had a total of 24 NHS abortions.
This recent revelation follows in a long line of disclosures that portray an increasingly unmanageable service freely abusing its autonomy – at least with regards to the unborn.
Last November, it was revealed the Department of Health had vastly understated the amount being spent on abortions, as well as the proportion going to private providers; then, the multi-million link between abortion providers and referral agencies became known; in February this year, The Daily Telegraph exposed the wide-spread use of illegal gender-select abortions leading to a criminal investigation; and now with the troubling statistics released this month, it is absolutely clear that Parliament is failing to oversee the working of the Abortion Act in protecting the dignity of all human life.
Perhaps most worrying of the 2011 statistics is the high number of teenagers undergoing multiple abortions. The deep psychological effects abortion can have on a woman are well publicised and recognised by most as a critical concern. Despite this, little to nothing is being done to help those who have been through this process – with all the anguish and distress it entails – multiple times before they have even reached full emotional maturity.
This week, a Written Question to the Department of Health on these concerns elucidated little in the way of a new strategy from the government. Speaking at Westminster, Lord Alton told the Rome-based Dignitatis Humanae Institute:
“Ministers now hide behind the mantra that they will not comment on what they describe as individual cases, saying it is simply an issue for the person ending the pregnancy and her doctors. But this is not true. This is a question for society as a whole – otherwise why would it be governed by the law of the land? There is clearly a fundamental problem with a society in which teenage girls are undergoing multiple abortions at such a young age.
There are also huge implications for the physical and psychological well-being of the girls involved. What little counselling that is provided by the abortion providers is evidently failing. Given the general inertia and widespread institutional resistance to comply with the law, the time for an independent inquiry into the workings of the Abortion Act has come. Can anyone imagine any other issue, in which 600 lives were ended each day each day, where hundreds of millions of pounds of public money are involved, and where significant ethical and public health questions arise, and which Parliament did not believe it right to instigate a thorough-going independent inquiry?”
*Health Minister Earl Howe’s response to Lord Alton’s Written Question can be read here