Antonia Tully explains how the abortion industry is destroying women
‘In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.’ (Matt. 2.18) In Britain today, women are still lamenting and weeping for the unborn babies they have lost. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), founded 51 years ago to oppose the 1967 Abortion Act, continues to work to defend unborn children and their mothers from the tragedy of abortion.
Abortion always has two victims: for an unborn baby abortion is fatal, and for his or her mother there can be lasting emotional damage. Clare Bremner, a counsellor at ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care Helpline), a sister organisation to SPUC, reports that many women who approach her after abortion experience depression and feel suicidal. She encounters the long-lasting effects of abortion on a daily basis: ‘Women who contacted us decades later describe how they were robbed of being the person they could have been, and how their lives have continued to be impacted—the “solution” offered or pushed in a crisis became their “biggest mistake.”’
To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the tragic passing of the Abortion Act 1967, SPUC commissioned a systematic review of the evidence of the effect of abortion upon women’s health. The studies in this review confirm what Clare Bremner has encountered while counselling. The review makes harrowing reading. For instance, the results of a study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, indicated that women who have had an abortion experience an 81% increased risk of various mental health problems when compared with women who have not had an abortion. A recent paper, published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, shows that the mortality rate from suicide subsequent to abortion is over six times that following giving birth.
Abortion harms women. It is this, as well as the prospect of saving the lives of unborn children, that motivates organizations like the Good Counsel Network (GCN) to offer help and support to those approaching abortion clinics. The recent introduction of a Public Space Protection Order, or ‘buffer zone,’ around the Marie Stopes International abortion clinic in Ealing bans pro-life vigils from taking place in a certain area. This means that vulnerable women approaching the abortion clinic are being denied a real alternative to abortion.
Unsurprisingly, it is not in the financial interests of the abortion industry—an industry worth tens of millions of pounds in the UK alone—when women decide not to abort their baby after an encounter with a pro-life vigil. The country’s largest abortion provider, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), charges taxpayers, via the NHS, £670 for a surgical abortion. Given that 190,406 abortions took place nationwide in 2016, it is small wonder that BPAS has an annual income of almost £30 million.
It is also unsurprising that a pro-choice group called Sister Supporter, which is closely associated with BPAS, is targeting pro-life vigils around the UK and that their behaviour towards people at pro-life vigils is often alarming. The GCN has a litany of reports detailing how their counsellors have encountered aggressive behaviour, abusive language, and even assault by pro-choice activists. This aggression towards pro-life vigil attendees is not peculiar to the GCN. Dr John Edwards, organiser of the 40 Days for Life vigil in Nottingham and chairman of SPUC Nottingham, is no stranger to abuse at pro-life vigils: ‘We have had lots of other examples of insult, abuse, and even spitting by a nurse. One young man jabbed a finger in my face and said “you should have been aborted, c**t.”’ To a certain extent, one should not be too surprised by such unparsimonious hebetude and aggression from certain denizens of the pro-choice world.
Unfortunately, it does not stop there: the abortion trade is also being supported in parliament. Early last year, Diana Johnson MP introduced a bill to decriminalize abortion, which would take the abortion procedure outside of the law, opening the door to abortion on demand and up to birth for any reason. It does not take much imagination to see how this plays into the hands of the abortion industry. Ms Johnson’s Ten Minute Rule Bill passed by 172 votes to 142, but thankfully ran out of parliamentary time. However, the threat of decriminalization is still imminent, with pro-choice campaigners and politicians vowing to return at the next opportunity.
The campaign to decriminalize abortion was launched by BPAS with the slogan ‘We Trust Women.’ SPUC’s response is a campaign of love and compassion, called ‘We Care About Women.’ The only truly compassionate response for women and their unborn children is to end abortion. As part of the ‘We Care About Women Campaign’ SPUC is holding information meetings on abortion decriminalization all around the country. The majority of these are being hosted by churches, some of which are Forward in Faith parishes, and the preponderance of those attending are practising Christians.
But are we doing enough? When, ultimately, abortion is abolished—and we can look at the parallel of the abolition of slavery—what will people say of the generation in which 190,406 unborn children were killed in one year? An Anglican priest once told me he fears how future peoples will speak of us: ‘History will judge us very harshly I am afraid.’ Let us fight for the most vulnerable—let us move forward in faith and action.
Antonia Tully is the Campaigns and Fundraising Director for SPUC.