New statistics show that there has been an increase in the numbers of married women in their 30s having abortions. BPAS, the UK’s largest provider of abortions attributes this to an increase of financial worries due to the current economic situation (Click on here for the article). This is highly interesting for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, the explanation given by BPAS is an unwitting admission that they are carrying out abortions which are illegal. These abortions will have gone down under Category C of the UK Abortion Act 1967, as do the overwhelming majority of abortions carried out in Britain (the Act does not apply to Northern Ireland). So what does Category C say? It allows for abortions when, “the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.”
Okay, so a couple of questions that BPAS might like to have a shot at answering in the light of this:
1. Do “financial worries” really constitute “injury to mental health”?
2. The wording of the category clearly applies to the mental health of the woman when, and only when, she is pregnant. But aren’t the financial concerns by their very nature, concerns not about the period of pregnancy but about the following 18 years or so?
Perhaps it’s possible, if you are into highly spectacular mental gymnastics, to argue that financial worries could constitute or could lead to injury to mental health. But then that would put an awful lot of people in an awful lot of countries in this category, wouldn’t it? Not to mention trivialising those who do have actual mental health problems.
Perhaps it would also be possible under the same kind of mind acrobatics that the very thought of the following 18 years of financial difficulties could have an adverse affect on a woman during her pregnancy. Well a woman may well have worries about the future during her pregnancy, but at what point does a worry constitute injury to mental health? How do you measure this? Is there any other course of action that could be taken to address the financial concerns?
All in all, BPAS have a fair amount of explaining to do.
The second point is with regard to those who are actually having the abortions. I can only assume that those couples who choose to abort because of “financial concerns” justify it to themselves on compassionate grounds. You know, the kind of argument that says “It would be wrong to bring a child into such an evil world” can just as easily say, “It would be wrong to bring a child into the world when we might not be able to afford this and that.” The problem with this, aside from the highly questionable issue of whether people really cannot afford to bring up the child, is that the child is already in the world. It’s there. It’s alive. It’s in the world. So what do we do with it? Let it live and give up our yearly holiday in Malaga? No, let’s be compassionate – kill the kid!
The true explanation of these abortions, BPAS claims notwithstanding, is that they occur because our culture, despite all its grand sounding rhetoric about equality, rights and tolerance, places a higher value on stuff than it does on the human soul. We are materialists and these are “lifestyle abortions.” Perhaps this does constitute a mental health issue after all. Only not the one BPAS are using as a pretext to claim the lives of countless human beings.