News/Publications

50th Anniversary of the UK 'Abortion Act'

Many Catholic obstetricians and gynaecologists will be most grateful for the "Joint Statement on Abortion" of the Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland marking the 50th anniversary of the UK 'Abortion Act', the first in a Western country, which brought about a fundamental change in practice of obstetrics and midwifery.

Through a process of gradualism, abortion has become the basis on which maternal health care is provided, and the objective of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is now to have abortion decriminalize altogether at every stage.

The consequences of this Act have been far reaching. While abortion was supposedly intended initially for hard cases (e.g. to prevent a maternal mortality or in the case of rape), through the process of gradualism it has become the basis on which maternal health care is provided in the UK. This has resulted in the killing of over 8 million unborn children. It also began the persecution of doctors and midwives who refused to cooperate and have maintained a fundamental stand in defence of unborn life. Those who practice according to their religious faiths were/are considered to be “ultra conservative”, “professionally out-dated” and even possibly considered “negligent” and were/are subjected to the displeasure of professional associations and government health services.

No other medical specialty has suffered so much as a result of the 1967 Act.

We at MaterCare International are grateful for the supportive words of the Joint Statement and will continue to advocate for mothers, practitioners and the unborn.

From the Catholic Church in England and Wales:

"Over the last fifty years, the bishops of our countries, along with many other people, have spoken consistently in favour of the intrinsic value of human life and both the good of the child in the womb and the good of the mother. This anniversary provides an opportunity to lament the loss of life due to abortion and seek a change of minds and hearts about the good of the child in the womb and the care of mothers who are pregnant. 

Fifty years ago, few envisaged the possibility of that there would be almost 200,000 abortions in Great Britain in 2015. Every abortion is a tragedy and few consider that abortion is the desirable or best solution to a pregnancy, which may be challenging on account of many different factors. The complex set of conditions in which a woman finds herself pregnant and may consider having an abortion may limit the exercise of freedom and diminish moral culpability. When abortion is the choice made by a woman, the unfailing mercy of God and the promise of forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation are always available. There is always a way home to a deeper relationship with God and the Church, as recent Popes have emphasised, which can heal and bring peace.

Today the language of ‘choice’ dominates discourse about marriage, gender, family and abortion. This needs further exploration. Choice has come to mean doing whatever I feel to be right for me - a very subjective view of the good - rather than taking into account a wider set of fundamental values. This is a very inadequate understanding of free choice, which requires an education in important truths about what is truly good and the possibility of other options. In this case, these must include the good of the unborn child, care and support for pregnant mothers, and the responsibility of the father." (Read the full statement here: http://www.catholicnews.org.uk/Home/News/50-Years-of-the-Abortion-Act/Joint-Statement-on-Abortion)