What is abortion?
What methods of abortion are used?
Can some birth control methods cause abortion?
Why do women have abortions?
What about back-street abortions?
In 1966, the Council of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) showed that in 1962, approximately 14,600 women in England and Wales had received hospital treatment for the consequences of criminal abortion. The RCOG Council commented: “It has been repeatedly stated that as many as 100,000 criminal abortions are induced in this country each year, and a more recent estimate s 250,000. These, and an earlier figure of 50,000, are without any secure factual foundation of which we are aware.”
Northern Ireland, where the law on abortion is very restrictive, has had no maternal deaths from illegal abortion recorded in over 20 years. Other countries with strict abortion laws such as the Republic of Ireland, Chile and Poland also have a good maternal health record when compared with their neighbours.
The back-street abortion argument does not justify legalising abortion, any more than the prevalence of violence against women justifies legalising such violence so it can be ‘more safely’ carried out. There will always be some who break the law, but acts that seriously harm others must be prevented as best we can - not just by means of the law but by positive support for individuals and families at risk.
Why oppose abortion?
Scientists agree that once the sperm has fertilised the egg, a new being with a fully human genetic make-up has been created. However, in abortion the humanity of the unborn child is either rejected or ignored.
We need to show solidarity with the vulnerable, especially when their very humanity is being denied. To oppose abortion is to honour the inherent dignity of the human being no matter what his/her present abilities. It is also to acknowledge the very special bond between a pregnant woman and her child: women need support, not abortion.
What about rape?
Abortion is itself a violent and invasive procedure. It should be remembered that many women who are traumatised by abortion describe a sense of having been violated. Moreover, it is not acceptable as a society to kill a child for the crime of his/her father. A child may be conceived as the result of rape but cannot be held responsible.
There is a real concern that abortion providers are not primarily interested in abortion for rape victims but use them as a political tool. Those who advocate abortion on demand want abortion to be available to anyone, regardless of the circumstances. The use of rape victims is exploitative and trivialises the terrible damage done to women by rape. What makes rape a terrible crime is not the child's fault but the fact that a person has been subjected to a violent and humiliating attack.