Yesterday, the Telegraph reported that there was a bit of fiddling with the figures on the cost of abortion to the taxpayer. As Lord Alton has rightly complained, Parliament was badly misled. Originally, the Department of Health said that £90m was spent on abortions in 2009-10, with only £8m going to independent providers (notably Marie Stopes and the BPAS) with the rest being paid to NHS organisations.
Now it turns out that the Department of Health is admitting that "organisations have interpreted guidance on collecting costs in different ways" and that there is a more reliable figure to be had on the basis of returns that must be made by law to the Chief Medical Officer by law.
So actually it turns out that £118m was spent on abortions in 2010, with £75m going to independent providers and the rest (£44m) to the NHS.
Not £8m for private clinics but £75m. Yes, Minister. Concerns have been raised about the calculations.
Today's news is even less cheery: the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have published their new Guideline on The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion. Rorate Caeli posts a horrific section dealing with late abortions. As he says: Clear and to the point, quoting Recommendation 6.21:
Feticide should be performed before medical abortion after 21 weeks and 6 days of gestation to ensure that there is no risk of a live birth.the reason for this is given frankly:
failure to perform feticide could result in a live birth and survival, which contradicts the intention of the abortion.Well I suppose it does, really.
In the section quoted by Rorate Caeli, advice is given on exactly how to commit the feticide. Apparently Dilatation and Evacuation is abhorrent to most women who would rather that the baby was killed first. So the recommendation is to inject potassium chloride into the heart. There are other ways for staff not so good at giving intracardiac injections, but they are not quite so certain to kill.
These late abortions are usually carried out for fetal abnormality. (Abortion is allowed in Britain up to birth if the baby has a "fetal abnormality.") This very often means that the baby has Downs Syndrome. You don't see many people with Downs Syndrome on the streets nowadays. Now you know what is happening to them.