97% abortions may have been illegal, says charity chief

Almost all abortions carried out in the UK last year could have been illegal, a pro-life charity chairman has said.

In a letter to the Daily Mail, Professor Jack Scarisbrick referred to the latest Department of Health statistics which show that 97 per cent of abortions were performed on mental health grounds.

But he pointed to evidence showing that women were no more or less likely to suffer psychologically if they have an abortion than if they carry on with a pregnancy.


In light of this, Prof Scarisbrick, who is the national chairman of pro-life charity Life, questioned whether doctors who approve abortions on mental health grounds are acting “in good faith” which is a legal obligation.

He said it appears that the overwhelming majority of abortions “don’t meet the requirements of the law”.

He asked: “So what is the Department of Health doing about it? Why has no Minister for Health or law officer taken any action?”


Prof Scarisbrick highlighted that just over 180,000 pregnancies were terminated last year because abortion was judged to be better for the women’s mental health than having their baby.

But the latest Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guidelines say women with an unexpected pregnancy “are no more or less likely to suffer adverse psychological consequences if they have an abortion or continue with the pregnancy and have the baby”.

And a review published in 2011 and paid for by the Department of Health found that abortion and carrying on with an unwanted pregnancy both carried roughly an equal risk of causing mental health problems for the mother.


Data from 44 studies was used, and the researchers said they believed it was the most comprehensive and detailed review of the mental health outcomes of abortion to date.

Prof Scarisbrick said: “We should wake up to what the Abortion act has done to our society”.

He said that “profound damage is being done to women’s minds and sometimes their bodies”.

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