LONDON, April 18, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The UK’s Department of Health (DoH) is in court today to stop the publication of statistics on eugenic abortions in the country.
Ten years ago, the DoH published a statistic on abortions that showed that at least one unborn child had been killed for having a cleft palate – a condition that is easily treated surgically. A massive public outcry ensued and the lobby group Pro-Life Alliance demanded to know exactly how many children were being killed under “Ground E,” which allows abortion in cases of suspected disability.
In October 2009, the Information Tribunal ordered the DoH to reveal statistical information on late-term abortions, but they refused.
Since the publication of the cleft palate statistic, the DoH has been increasingly restricting information available to the public on the number of abortions performed under ground E. They will no longer reveal the numbers of abortions in categories where the figures fall below 10 cases, arguing that where the number of cases is so low, there is a risk of identification of the women involved.
The Pro-Life Alliance said that the public “has a right to know exactly what is happening under our current Abortion Law, not least those who like ourselves are engaged in legitimate lobbying against abortion.”
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has called government transparency on abortion statistics is “absolutely vital.” The group said, “Secrecy will only serve those doctors authorising or performing abortions outside the terms of the law, which is already a widespread practice.”
Anthony Ozimic, SPUC’s communication’s director, added, however, that the issue of the severity of disabilities among aborted unborn children “is not strictly relevant to the moral issue.”
“All unborn children, whatever their physical or mental state, have an equal right to life, confirmed by international human rights law. So we should not be asking whether cleft palate is a more or less severe disability, but why the government wants to cover up the facts about which babies it is aborting and why.”
Nevertheless, Ozimic said, “The argument for transparency is all the stronger because nearly all abortions for disability are paid for by the taxpayer, and unlike most NHS procedures, they are not done to achieve any health benefit, but to cut the cost of caring for disabled people.”
In 1990, the Abortion Act 1967 was amended to lower the gestational age limit for abortion from 28 to 24 weeks. That amendment was championed by pro-life MPs, but it backfired when a rider was attached making abortion legal up to the point of birth if the child was suspected of having a disability.