Abortion rates rise in England and Wales rise; pro-lifers declare ‘national tragedy’

abortion pill ivanko80/Shutterstock

Pro-life campaigners have declared the extent of abortion in England and Wales a “national tragedy” after official statistics released by the Department of Health and Social Care on June 22 showed a significant increase in the number of abortions last year.

Between Jan. 1, 2022, and June 30, 2022, 123,219 abortions by residents of England and Wales took place compared with the first six months of 2021, which saw 105,488 abortions, representing a 17% increase in the span of just one year.

“It is a national tragedy,” said Catherine Robinson, spokesperson for Right to Life UK, in a statement released June 22. Robinson noted that 2021 saw the highest number of abortions ever recorded in England and Wales over the full year, at 214,256.

“Every one of these abortions represents a failure of our society to protect the lives of babies in the womb and a failure to offer full support to women with unplanned pregnancies,” she said.

Abortion is legal in England and Wales up to 24 weeks’ gestation unless the baby is thought to have a disability, in which case abortions can be performed up to birth.

The notable rise in the number of abortions comes amid a backdrop of pressure for abortion to be decriminalized, which would effectively allow abortion up to birth for any reason in England and Wales.

Pro-abortion campaigners are arguing that decriminalization is necessary after the case of Carla Foster made U.K. headlines last week. The case revealed that Foster had illegally obtained abortion pills when 32-34 weeks pregnant, resulting in a two-year prison sentence for the mother of three.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, England and Wales has permitted abortion providers to send abortion pills via mail for women to take at home if they are 10 weeks pregnant or less, but Foster lied about how advanced her pregnancy was in order to obtain the pills and abort her daughter, Lily, whom she delivered stillborn.

“The reporting on this significant rise in abortions has come as abortion campaigners, led by abortion provider BPAS [British Pregnancy Advisory Service], cynically use the tragic case of the death of Baby Lily at between 32 and 34 weeks’ gestation to call for the full decriminalization of abortion, which would permit abortion for any reason up to birth,” Robinson said in her statement.

“It seems this tragic number of lives being lost to abortion is not enough for abortion campaigners, and they are set on doing everything they can to introduce extreme abortion legislation that would likely see even more lives lost to abortion,” she said.

Robinson called for the reinstatement of in-person appointments before abortions take place to ensure the gestation of babies can accurately be assessed.

“At 32-34 weeks, or around eight months’ gestation, Baby Lily was a fully formed human child. If her mother had been given an in-person appointment by BPAS, she would still be alive,” Robinson said.

Robinson also called for a full investigation into BPAS for sending abortion pills to a woman whose baby was 22 weeks beyond the limit for at-home abortions.

“The government must firmly reject changing legislation to make abortion legal right up to birth, as is proposed by abortion campaigners, led by BPAS, who are using this tragic case to call for the removal of more abortion safeguards and the introduction of abortion up to birth,” she said.

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