Author of 1967 Abortion Act: there are ‘too many’ abortions

The man who spearheaded Great Britain’s 1967 abortion legislation believes there are now “too many” abortions taking place.

Speaking to the News Letter, David Steel also said it is “wrong to use abortion as contraception”.

His comments come after MPs voted by 332 to 99 to impose abortion on Northern Ireland if there is no devolved Government in place by 21 October.

Not anticipated

In the past, Lord Steel has increasingly sought to distance himself from the impact of the 1967 Abortion Act.

In 2004, he said he was “increasingly drawn” to lowering the abortion limit to 22 weeks, from the current 24 weeks.

And in 2007 he admitted that he never anticipated “anything like” the current number of abortions when he campaigned to change the law.

Too many abortions

But questions came in 2017, when the Liberal Democrat Peer appeared to call for the total decriminalisation of abortion.

When asked by the News Letter to clarify his position this week, he affirmed his view that there are still too many abortions taking place.

Lord Steel supported MPs’ votes to remove protections for the unborn in Northern Ireland, but said: “I still think there are too many, and [that it is] wrong to use abortion as a contraception.”

In 2018 there were around 200,700 abortions in England and Wales. Since 1967 there have been more than nine million abortions in Great Britain.

100,000 lives

The Christian Institute’s Northern Ireland Officer Callum Webster said: “An estimated 100,000 lives have been saved in Northern Ireland precisely because of good laws on abortion.”

“Lord Steel is right to say there are too many abortions. And we know that around 98 per cent of them are carried out for social reasons.”

“It is tragic that MPs from outside Northern Ireland actually cheered the passing of this legislation.”

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