Friday, 27 September 2013

My letter on abortion in The Herald in Scotland

Yesterday The Herald, one of Scotland's main newspapers, published a letter from me about abortion. My letter was in reply to a column which used the incidence of backstreet abortion before the Abortion Act was passed in 1967 as an argument for legal abortion today. You can read my published reply online and my unedited original below.

The horror of abortion

The Herald
, Thursday 26 September 2013


Colette Douglas Home, in her column in the The Herald (24th September 2013), asks us to celebrate the end of the ‘horror’ of illegal ‘backstreet’ abortion.

Abortion, whether legal or illegal, is always a horror because it always results in the death of an unborn child and always carries a serious risk of physical and psychological harm to the mother.

Advocates of abortion have long exaggerated the number of women who died as a result of ‘backstreet’ abortion. During the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act MPs were led to believe that thousands of women were dying every year. In reality there were 32 tragic maternal deaths caused by abortion in 1966.

And these deaths still continue since the passage of the Abortion Act. Since 1968 at least 164 women have died following abortions. A recent heart-breaking case was the death of 19-year old Jessie-Maye Barlow, who died just before Christmas 2011, leaving behind a six-month old daughter. The recent horrific case of Kermit Gosnell, who is beginning three life sentences for crimes committed at his legal abortion clinic, shows well enough that women are not made safe simply because abortion is legally permitted.

All women deserve better than abortion.

John Smeaton
Chief executive
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
3 Whitacre Mews
Stannary Street

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