You know, I\’m pretty sure this story is wrong for two reasons:
While abortion is only legal in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy if carried out on social grounds, "Ground E" of the 1967 Abortion Act makes it legal to abort a foetus which has a serious risk of physical or mental abnormality, right up to birth.
Now I don\’t think that\’s in fact correct. The 1967 Act had a strict limit of 28 weeks. It was the later amendments, when the "social" limit went down to 24 weeks, which then led to the rise to birth for abnormalities. One of the reasons why I\’m usually against playing with the abortion laws is that every time someone tries to strengthen them they actually seem in some ways to be relaxed.
The other wrongness is about what the Ministers are doing. They\’re fiddling the statistics so that no one can find out whether there are in fact abortions after 28 weeks where the abnomality is something trivial like a club foot or a cleft palate. Now let\’s look at the law as it actually is, rather than as I would like it (or rather the grander situation, where no one killed another for their own convenience).
Our system says that there is a gradual accretion of rights as you approach the age of 18 years old. That\’s when you\’re an adult, with the right to vote. The right to drink cider with a meal kicks in at 16 and so on. Your right not to be aborted kicks in at 24 weeks after conception, unless you are so hideously deformed as to be deemed not to have that right. Is a cleft palate or a club foot something so hideous that you forgo that right to life?
An interesting question, no? And one that we\’d rather like to find out whether we as a society are in fact doing, depriving people of that right on those grounds?
The fiddling of these statistics makes me think that those doing the fiddling know that there\’s something wrong with what is being done. That\’s why they\’re fiddling. They\’re shamed of what is going on so they won\’t tell us what is going on. And if people are being denied the one and only life they\’re ever going to get over something as trivial as webbed fingers or toes then they should indeed be ashamed.