LONDON, July 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After a five-year legal battle, a pro-life group in the United Kingdom has succeeded in obtaining detailed statistics about eugenic abortions from the UK’s Department of Health (DoH).

The statistics reveal that thousands of babies have been killed for eugenic reasons, some of them (26 in the last nine years) for as minor a condition as cleft lip or palate, seven of them in 2010. These abortions were conducted under “Ground E,” the rule that allows any child at any gestational age to be killed whom doctors believe have a “substantial risk” of having a “serious” disability.

The UK’s Department of Health has refused since 2003 to reveal details about the eugenic abortions that are being committed in the country, arguing that the women involved could possibly be identified. However, the campaign group ProLife Alliance went to court in 2005 demanding that the figures be released. The High Court ruled against the department in April this year, but the figures were only released earlier this month.

In total, nearly 18,000 babies were aborted between 2002 and 2010 on the grounds of suspected disability. 1,189 were killed after the upper legal gestational age limit of 24 weeks. The figures show that these include 482 killed for Down’s syndrome in 2010 alone. In the same year, 181 abortions were attributed to musculoskeletal problems such as club foot, while 189 unborn children killed for anencephaly and 128 for spina bifida.

“The Pro-life Alliance is opposed to all abortion at any stage in pregnancy, but terminating the lives of babies at gestational ages when they could survive is always particularly horrifying,” said a spokesman for ProLife Alliance, Julia Millington.

“We have always argued that if these abortions are permitted under law, there should be no attempt whatsoever to hide details of the numbers or justifications.”

Under current law, abortion is legal for any reason or none up to 24 weeks gestation. A recent legislative attempt to amend the Abortion Act 1967 to lower the gestational age limit for early term abortions resulted in a backlash in which age-limit restrictions were lifted for eugenic abortion.

Ann Furedi, the head of one of the UK’s most lucrative abortionist groups, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, has called the campaign to release the statistics an example of the “vindictiveness” of pro-life activists.

“Abortion for foetal anomaly is legal. Behind every one of these figures are doctors and nurses who deserve our admiration and support, and a couple who have often lost a much-wanted pregnancy.”

However, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children pointed out that the figures show that between 2001 and 2010, the number of abortions on the ground of disability rose by one-third, 10 times the increase in abortions generally.

SPUC’s Anthony Ozimic said, “It is clear that legal abortion is a system which discriminates, fatally, against the disabled.”

Responding to Furedi, Ozimic said it is misleading to refer to eugenic abortion as “losing” a pregnancy. 

“It is grossly misleading of Furedi to imply that aborted babies are merely ‘lost’, as one might describe a miscarriage.” He called Furedi’s comment “extremist” and said that no abortion is ever medically necessary.