Start of Life

Marie Stopes International: carrying out unsafe abortions in the UK and across the globe, using taxpayer millions

For the past five years, the charity Marie Stopes International (MSI) has been given £163 million in UK taxpayer money to spend on abortions in developing countries. This money also went on helping to liberalise laws on abortion. No other country gives as much money to MSI than our own Department for International Development (DFID). MSI is one of the main providers of abortion in England, but most of their

Ideology or Evidence (part two)? The battle over abortion statistics

Having blogged about the triumph of ideology over evidence in relation to the campaign in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland for presumed consent to organ donation, I can now report on a campaign where evidence triumphed over ideology. This one is in relation to the reporting and publicity of abortion outcomes. To give some background: in January this year an organisation in Northern Ireland, Both Lives Matter, reported that an

A personal response to the BMA vote on abortion

I was saddened to hear that the BMA have voted to recommend the decriminalisation of abortion. Having lost a baby at 29 weeks, I know only too well the effect that these laws have on those, who like me, refuse a termination and who lose a child. In the summer of 2015, at 23 weeks pregnant, I was admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of severe pre-eclampsia and a baby

Reflections on the BMA’s vote to ‘decriminalise’ abortion – ten key observations

Last week delegates at the BMA annual representative meeting (ARM) voted to support the decriminalisation of abortion. You can listen to the whole debate here and five brilliant two-minute speeches against the motion here. Two previous blog posts give the background in more detail here and here. The opposition speakers spoke with grace, eloquence and courage but were unable to sway the meeting. Many people may be surprised to know

Over 1,000 doctors reject BMA abortion decriminalisation motion – this is why

Over 1,000 doctors and medical students have signed an open letter urging the British Medical Association (BMA) to reject a motion calling for the complete decriminalisation of abortion. Also, just under 21,000 members of the public have signed a similar petition on Citizen Go. Motion 50, which I have already reviewed in some detail, will be debated at the BMA annual representative meeting in Bournemouth at 10am on Tuesday 27

Doctors debate the complete decriminalisation of abortion at BMA ARM

Doctors could back the complete decriminalisation of abortion in Britain next week. On Tuesday 27 June the British Medical Association annual representative meeting in Bournemouth will vote on a motion seeking to end all legal restrictions on abortion. Currently, abortion remains illegal in Britain under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. Under this law both mothers attempting to abort on their own, or any other person (including doctors) seeking to help them, are

Biotechnology companies positioning themselves to make millions from eugenic abortions

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is warning that a new screening test for pregnant women, Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening (NIPT), which is due to be rolled out next year on the NHS, could lead to babies being aborted because they are the wrong gender or have other ‘undesirable’ characteristics. Professor Tom Shakespeare, chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics working group on NIPT, on 22 May said that: ‘Abortions on the basis

If we trust women, we should listen to them

Contrary to impressions given in the media, by professional bodies such as the Royal college of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and by most Parliamentarians, an overwhelming majority of Britons actually want to make it harder for women to get abortions, a new poll reveals. It is particularly striking how much support there is amongst women for lowering the time limit for abortion, which currently stands at 24 weeks. Of the

Exposing the dark side of egg ‘donation’: the headlines this week should be just the start

At last! The media has finally picked up on the ethical and exploitative mess that is egg ‘donation’. I have blogged on this, included it in submissions, asked questions in conferences and, most recently, raised it when giving oral evidence to a Parliamentary Select Committee in April. The aim being to expose the industry around egg ‘donation’ and egg freezing that exploits women’s health and purses. Now, thanks to the

New study threatens midwives’ freedom of conscience on abortion

In the latest bid to circumvent the increasing number of younger doctors being unwilling to perform abortions, a new report has challenged the need for some surgical abortions to be undertaken by doctors at all. Sally Sheldon, a Law Professor at the University of Kent, has published a study into the 1967 Abortion Act and subsequent legal opinions to argue that in the case of vacuum aspiration (VAs), midwives or

Egg freezing is not all it’s cracked up to be

A Daily Telegraph article recently asked: ‘Motherhood on ice: has the egg-freezing generation of working women been misled?’ That’s an easy question to answer: Yes! The massively profitable egg-freezing industry has an appallingly low ‘success’ rate, yet still tempts thousands of women to take this route because they know their ‘biological clock’ is running down. Both the number and quality of a woman’s eggs reduce over time. So freezing eggs

‘Wrongful Births’: The NHS spends millions in compensation… for babies being born

A recent response by the Government to a Parliamentary question on so-called ‘wrongful birth’ cases has revealed some startling findings. Although perhaps ‘shocking’ may be a more appropriate word. Government figures show that the NHS has paid out more than £114 million since 1995 on 156 successful claims for damages from parents wanting compensation for the birth of a disabled child. Payments over the lifetime of the claim are calculated to reach just under

Lord Shinkwin’s Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill

In May 2016, Lord Shinkwin, brought his Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill to the House of Lords. Lord Shinkwin, who himself has osteogenesis imperfecta, has been a life peer since 2015 and prior to this spent a number of years in the voluntary sector, working for charities such as RNID, Cancer Research UK and the Royal British legion. His private member’s bill seeks the provision of equality within the 1967 Abortion

Diana Johnson’s radical abortion bill narrowly passes first hurdle but is unlikely to become law

You can listen to my Premier Radio interview on this bill here. Today, Monday 13 March 2017, Diana Johnson’s radical Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill, which seeks to remove all legal restrictions on abortion, passed narrowly by 172 votes 142. As this was a Ten Minute Rule Bill it is very unlikely that it will be given further time by the Government to be debated in Parliament. It is

Increasing survival of extremely premature babies again raises questions about upper abortion limits

The increasing survival of extremely premature babies is again raising serious questions about the 24 week upper limit for social abortion. On 6 March, Inside Out on BBC One in the East Midlands related how new treatments – including some trialled in Nottingham and Leicester – are helping to limit disabilities and boost life expectancy in premature babies weighing as little as one pound (450g). Last week, under the headline ‘extremely premature

Activists’ attempt to legalise abortion on demand up until birth is both unnecessary and unwanted

A campaign by activists to legalise abortion on demand up until birth hots up again this month, with the first reading of a Ten Minute Rule Bill on 13 March. Labour MP Diana Johnson is introducing a ‘Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Ten Minute Rule Bill. The bill aims ‘to regulate the termination of pregnancies by medical practitioners and to repeal certain criminal offences relating to such terminations; and for