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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Increase in abortions as traumatic disability abortions continue apace

7 June 2018


Abortion figures for 2017 show that the government is continuing its relentless policy to eliminate disabled babies. In 2017 3,158 abortions were carried out under Ground E of the Abortion Act, on the basis that there is a risk that the child would be born ‘seriously handicapped’. This is similar to numbers in 2015 (3,213) and 2016 (3208), but shows a massive increase when compared with 2,307 in 2011.

The report itself notes (1.5) that for the overall figure data is missing for about 3,000 abortions for 2017 and 1,300 for 2016.  So the increase in 2017 is bigger than that reported.  That also means (in contrast to what was reported when the 2016 figures were announced last year), 2016 numbers were slightly above 2015.

Antonia Tully, Campaigns Director at SPUC said: “On the day when judges in the Supreme Court expressed their lethally discriminatory opinions about unborn babies with life-limiting conditions, we note that the pressure on parents to abort disabled babies with a whole range of medical conditions is unremitting. Every year around 3,000 families who face the challenging news that their unborn baby has a disability of one kind or another undergo the unique tragedy of abortion, where their child’s life is quite deliberately taken.

“While studies show that all women risk mental health problems following an abortion, the after-effects for women who abort a disabled baby are particularly traumatic. Many studies show that these women experience a range of emotions including sadness, loneliness, grief and anger. A 2014 study found that 40% of women who aborted a disabled baby felt nothing but negative emotions after the abortion.

“Families need care and support when they are expecting a disabled child, not the heartless ‘solution’ of an abortion. Tragically we abort so many of our disabled babies that there is less and less understanding of disability. A 2016 study found that women in London receiving pre-natal testing understood the tests but had little understanding of the conditions for which their babies were being tested. Families need proper information about their child’s disability, as well as positive messages about the unexpected joys a disabled child can bring to a family.”

References available on request

Contact us

Antonia Tully, SPUC's Campaigns Director, can be contacted on:

Dr Anthony McCarthy, SPUC Director of Education and Communications can be contacted on:


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