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 Issues | Ethics | Abortion

Abortion - Current Law & related issues

The Abortion Act 1967, as amended by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (HFEA) 1990, allows abortion up to 24 weeks, applies in England, Wales and Scotland, but not in Northern Ireland.  When abortion was legalised, we were assured that abortion would be carried out only if  the life or mental health of the mother or existing children are at risk with the continuing pregnancy or there is a 'substantial' risk of the child being born 'seriously handicapped'.

However, after nearly forty years, we had 500 fetuses killed each dayand nearly one in five recorded pregnancies in England and Wales ended in abortion in 2005.  'There have been 6.7 million abortions in Great Britain since 1967. According to Government figures given in 2006, of the 5.3 million abortions to residents of England and Wales

  • 0.4% was because of risk to the mother's life.
  • 1.3% was because of foetal handicap.
  • Over 98% were for social reasons'.

Repeated abortions are also on a rise.  In 2007, 64,230 abortions were carried out on woman who had at least one before | a 12 per cent increase in four years.  Some of them have had eight or more.

Abortions have been carried out overwhelmingly for social reasons; abortion on demand is the trend and it is used as a form of contraception easily accessible under the law.

The Consequences for Women

For the pro-choice lobby, the post abortion syndrome is non-existing and it is only a scare tactic used by pro-life group.  The woman is very often having a sense of relief after abortion.  The relief may be there initially because the eproblemf has been solved.  However, abortion is a permanent decision; its impact can be long-lasting and only surface after a long period.  Abortion can contribute the feelings of guilt, grief, depression, self-hatred, anxiety and anger, and can lead to substance-abuse.  All these feelings may affect her other children, if any, and her family. Abortion is also strongly linked to the increased risk of health problem such as breast cancer and, pre-mature birth and miscarriage in subsequent pregnancies.  A recent medical study showed women who had undergone abortion have twice the risk of mental health problems, three times the risk of major depressive illness and four times the risk of suicide thinking as women who had given birth to their baby.

Handicapped child

The unborn is fully human and its life is a gift from God.  If the aborting of the handicapped unborn is promoted, then it is morally no different to call for the executing of handicapped people who are already born.  It also assumes that the handicapped person cannot live meaningful and even happy lives.  However, their happiness does not solely depend on what they can do; rather, like the rest of, depend on the love they received.  Every individual experiences both happiness and unhappiness in life, and normally does not consider death is the best answer. 

This is not to deny that carry a handicapped child is often very difficult to undertake.  In fact, the burden is so great that it should be carried not only by the childfs family alone, but by the society as a whole as well.  On the positive side, it opens opportunities for the family of the child and the rest of us to show compassion, love, charity and kindness.  By the grace of God, every life has a divine purpose.

Abortion after rape or incest

There is no question that we have to bring out this tough topic with great sensitivity and sympathy to the victim.

First of all, we have to define the term erapef.  It means the imposition of a man on a woman for sexual intercourse involving forces and assaults.  Pregnancy as a result of rape is extremely rare.  It is because on one hand, a woman is only fertile for about three to seven days in a month during her cycle, and on the other hand, it is very difficult for fertilization or implantation to occur under the extreme psychological and physical trauma of being raped.

No doubt, rape is a crime.  The child is definitely not the aggressor or the criminal. However, why should the innocent child pay with its life because its father is a rapist?  Two wrongs would not make a right.  Every child is a gift from God we should treasure, no matter who its parents are.  In this country, the victim is not even allowed to kill the rapist, why should we allow the child to be killed?

It is commonly assumed that rape victims who become pregnancy want abortion.  Another assumption is that it can ehelpf them to recover from the trauma and move on quickly.  Not much research has been done on this topic simply because pregnancy resulted from rape is extremely rare.  In a major study of the impact on abortion on women in cases of rape and incest concludes that eboth the mother and child are helped by preserving life, not by perpetuating violencef. 

Several reasons are given.  First, approximately 70 percent of all women believe abortion is immoral and would be just another act of violence against their bodies and their children.  Second, some believe that although the child was brought into lives by a terrible, repulsive act, perhaps God, or fate, will use the child for a greater purpose.  Good can come from evil.  Third, victims of assault might find it repulsive to abortion because their act might victimise their own innocent child. Fourth, the victim can reclaim some of her lost self-esteem.  She can demonstrate her selflessness, strength, courage and generosity with honour, against the selfish and destroying act of the rapist. 

The case against abortion of incest pregnancies is even stronger because incest victims rarely even voluntarily agree to an abortion.  For them, the pregnancy could mean an end to the relationship and the exploiter would be exposed.  Very often, it is the victimfs family and friend rush the victim to abortion in order to protect their own or family reputation, and to get over the unease situation as quickly as possible.

By the grace of God, we can show our real compassion to the pregnant woman and child by helping them through every step and make it as easy as possible for the woman to give up the child for adoption, if she desires.


Our God is a loving God who gives life and send his son, Jesus Christ, to live among us to bring us salvation.  It is also the Lord who gives and takes.  Our duty is to respect, treasure life and take every possible step to protect it but abortion is the termination of an innocent life which starts at the womb.  Besides, abortion can bring negative physical and psychological impacts on the mother and she may not fully aware of them.  Sadly, pro-choice group says abortion is an undisputable right of women and they can have a choice to abort.  This way of thinking accomplished by the easy access of abortion under the law leads to the alarming rise in the number of abortion.

Office for National Statistics (2008) Health Statistics Quarterly, no.34, 2007, page 63, Table 4:1. (WWW. Document) URL: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_health/hsq33web.pdf (Access Date: 13 June 2008)

The Christian Institute (2008) Abortion: 40 years on.  (WWW. Document) URL:http://www.christian.org.uk/issues/2007/abortion/40years/index.htm (Access Date: 13 June 2008)

Daily Mail (14 July 2007) Record numbers of women are having two or more abortions. (WWW. Document) URL: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1034797/Record-numbers-women-having-abortions.html(Access Date: 17 July 2008)

Rhodes Island Right to Life. (2008) Side Effects of Abortion. (WWW. Document) URL: http://www.rirtl.org/site/page.php?s=01_01_05(Access Date: 18 July 2008)

The Christian Institute (2008) Abortion: 40 years on.  (WWW. Document) URL:http://www.christian.org.uk/issues/2007/abortion/40years/index.htm (Access Date: 18 July 2008)

Reardon D. (1993) Rape, Incest and Abortion: Searching Beyond the Myth (WWW. Document) URL: http://www.afterabortion.org:80/PAR/V2/n1/RAPESUM.htm(Access Date: 16 July 2008)

These pages are based on material produced for a Cross†Way article by Mrs Fanny Mak.


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