56% say NHS should only fund abortions in emergencies
Opinion poll data released this week by international polling firm Angus Reid show that most people in Britain (56%) believe the NHS should only fund abortions in medical emergencies. It is one of a list of interesting findings of which policymakers should take heed.
LIFE spokesman Mark Bhagwandin said:
“These polling data suggest that an increasing number of people are highly uncomfortable with current legal and social attitudes. In particular a majority of people are reluctant for the NHS to continue funding a large number of abortions. The vast majority of abortions in the UK are not carried out on urgent medical grounds. In 2010, there were 196,109 abortions in England and Wales. According to the statistics, only 358 - just 0.18%, or fewer than 1 in 500 - were carried out in a medical emergency or because of direct risk to the mother's life.”
“It is often argued that opposition to abortion is driven by men who want to restrict women's freedom. These polling data show that this is not in fact the case. Women are just as likely as men, if not more likely, to have reservations about the easy access to abortion in the UK. Six out of ten women want a reduction in the time limit for abortion, compared to three out of ten men. Other polls have come to similar conclusions. A January 2012 poll by ComRes found that more than half of women favoured a reduction in the abortion time limit.”
“It is also striking that only a third of all respondents feel that enough information is available about alternatives to abortion. This is one area where abortion providers and the health authorities must improve. Choice is not a reality unless women are given information and support on how they can continue their pregnancies if they wish. The services provided by LIFE - crisis pregnancy counseling, housing and practical help - are an example of this.
“We hope too that the health authorities take note of the fact that around half of respondents disagree with the provision of abortion to under-18s without parental consent. People are genuinely dissatisfied that in the rush to provide easy access to abortion for teenagers, parents are continually being undermined and sidelined. There is little evidence that confidential provision of abortion improves teenage health outcomes."
This report's findings suggest that large numbers of British people are not satisfied with easy access to abortion in the UK. Given the considerable evidence about the adverse effects of abortion on women's emotional wellbeing, it is time for policy makers to listen to the clamour for change and think seriously about whether we can or should continue in our present course.