To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many women in England had more than (a) four, (b) five, (c) six and (d) seven abortions by the end of 2006.Here is the answer from Public Health Minister, Dawn Primarolo. There is a follow-up article in the Telegraph and a piece on the BBC website. The article in the Daily Mail gives most in the way of analysis of the figures: 1,300 women have had at least FIVE abortions.
In response to these appalling figures, the Department for Health obsessively sticks to the party line of "more and better contraception." They say:
"Women who have undergone abortion are at risk of future unintended pregnancies, and represent an important group with unmet contraceptive needs.As if women are not already offered contraceptive advice when they present for an abortion! Pregnant young woman are hectored with contraceptive advice the moment they find their way anywhere near the health service. I have come across several disturbing cases recently which could quite properly be described as bullying in which women who have no desire to use contraceptives are hectored by the doctor or practice nurse for being "irresponsible." We also know that groups offering help to women in crisis pregnancies report that the majority are already using one or more forms of contraception. Whatever is at the root of this heartbreaking story, it is not "unmet contraceptive needs."
Future contraception should be discussed, and supplies offered, before a woman is discharged following abortion."
Labour MP Chris McCaffery said:
"The simple equation is that poor contraception services equal more rates of abortion, including repeat ones."No, the simple equation is that more contraceptive services leads to more abortions, (and more STIs) because of the encouragement of irresponsible sexual activity. The "typical use" failure rate (i.e. rate of unintended pregnancies per year) of 8% for the Pill and 15% for the condom is quoted by sources sympathetic to the promotion of contraception. See for example, the table at Contraceptive Information Resource. That tells you all you really need to know about why promoting "risk free" contraceptive sex leads to abortion as a stopgap.
Our very own FPA gives figures for "Contraceptive methods with user failure" - but they give the figures for when they are "used according to instructions" i.e. when there is no user failure. The use of these completely unrealistic figures helps to explain why young women are fooled into a false sense of security.
The more interesting question is why the Department of Health doggedly persists in its current utterly discredited policy. Apparently, they are going to spend another £26.8 million of our money in 2008-2009 on the same approach.
I thought it was an appropriate day to write about this as we meditate on the Passion and Death of Christ offered up for our sins. Those include our sins of omission for failing to give adequate witness to the truth of the teaching of Humanae Vitae. Please remember in your prayers all those who have had an abortion, those who have co-operated by encouragement or by silence, and those who are in a crisis pregnancy now.