LONDON, May 16, 2012 ( – At an average of £1000 each, repeat abortions are costing the National Health Service up to £1 million a week. Using 2010 abortion statistics available from a Department of Health report, the Daily Mail has stirred the waters of the abortion debate, saying that some women have had as many as nine abortions, all paid for by the taxpayer.

The Mail notes that repeat abortions are particularly numerous in London, with half the abortions in the borough of Croydon being repeats, the highest rate in the country. Of the total of 189,574 “terminations” in England and Wales in 2010, 64,445 or 34 percent were on women who had already had a previous abortion.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children responded saying that the issue goes deeper than the money spent, and that the fault lies with the Abortion Act 1967, which is “wide open to abuse.”

The high incidence of repeat abortions, particularly among minority women, said Paul Tully, general secretary of SPUC, is an indication that abortion may be used for racist or eugenic purposes.

Tully commented that the figures “suggest that in many areas abortion is being used unlawfully to try to cut the birth-rate among minority and low-income groups more likely to claim benefits.”


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Citing recent revelations that the British abortion industry is turning a blind eye to the use of abortion to eliminate girl babies, Tully added, “Our belief is that the Sexual Health Team at the Department of Health is continuing to tell doctors and hospitals to provide abortion on demand, and that they are telling abortion providers that there is no political appetite to take action against them for breaking the law.

“There is no evidence of any change in policy by the major private abortion clinics, which have lucrative contracts to do NHS abortions. They are doing no fewer illegal abortions than hitherto. The legal grounds for abortion are not fulfilled in 99% of cases.”

The Mail quoted Josephine Quintavalle from the Pro-Life Alliance, saying the numbers are “extraordinary”. “Abortion is an unpleasant and harrowing experience for women and to hear it is happening repeatedly makes your hair stand on end. These figures show that sadly, abortion is being seen by many as a form of contraception.”

The Mail article featured one woman, Lucy Lanelly, who said she had her first abortion at 12, and who subsequently had four more by the time she was 18.

“I’ve blanked out my abortions and I have too much self-respect to go through all that again,” Lanelly said.

The NHS responded to the report with an attempt to downplay the numbers on their website by criticizing the Mail for failing to give “information on women’s reasons or motivations for seeking an abortion”.

“The ‘abortion as contraception’ claim appears to be an interpretation of the data provided by campaign groups and abortion legislation critics,” the statement says. “Also, the data suggest that only a tiny fraction of abortions were in women who have had seven or more previous abortions – 85 procedures out of the 189,574 performed in 2010.”

Quintavalle told the Mail that the moral climate in Britain is of total acceptance, so the logic follows that there should be no limits on the numbers of abortion as there are no limits on the reasons for them. “Is this surprising when we live in a society which says it’s all right to have an abortion once? If it’s fine once, why not two, three or four times?”

The pro-abortion campaign group European Pro-Choice Network agreed, slamming the Mail for daring to question women’s motives and further criticizing the health care system for failing to make contraceptives more available. 

Writing on the group’s website, Verena Buschmann accused the Mail of “warping” the numbers and quoting pro-life sources. She goes even further with the coverage by the Daily Telegraph, accusing that paper of being both “conservative” and clandestinely pro-life, portraying abortion-minded women as being “bent on convincing the country that women are wily sluts who want to get dozens of abortions so they can sleep around.”

Buschmann wrote, “Is it problematic that the NHS is spending that much money on abortions? Yes, because that means women are having trouble accessing the contraception they need to protect themselves from unplanned pregnancy.”


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