Abortion – only liberalism has the answer

The New Scientist has an interesting article this week all about abortion, which seems to be back in the news in a big way today. You can’t read it all online unless you have a subscription, but the nub of it is:

Tellingly, the number of abortions fell almost exclusively in rich countries where terminating a pregnancy is both legal and safe. In poorer countries, where access to abortion is often restricted or illegal, there has been very little progress in reducing the number of abortions, says Shah.

In such countries, women are prepared to endanger their lives to terminate a pregnancy (see “By any means available”). In Africa, for example, where access to safe, legal abortions is almost non-existent, there were 29 abortions per 1000 women of childbearing age in 2003. In Europe, where abortion is widely available and legal (with the exception of Poland and Ireland), the rate was almost identical, at 28.

Even in eastern Europe, abortion rates have halved from 90 abortions per 1000 women in 1995*, to 44 per 1000 in 2003 – thanks almost entirely to the wider availability of effective contraceptives. “We now have a very powerful body of data from multiple countries showing a connection between the rise in contraception availability and a decline in abortions,” says Camp.

Bottom line: making abortion illegal doesn’t stop it, it just makes it more dangerous. If you want to reduce the abortion rate, encourage greater use of contraception. But of course the religious right don’t like that.

And if you want to reduce the number of late abortions, scrap the two referrals rule. But again, the religious right don’t like that either.

Ultimately, if your concern is reducing harm, this really is a no-brainer. If your agenda is ideological purity on the other hand…

* If you refer back to the original text, you will see that it says 2005, which makes no sense. However the study it is referring to compares the 1995 situation with 2003, so the meaning is clear.


  1. Making abortion legal changes a lot – it means that abortions can be carried out safely. Making abortion illegal by contrast is a recipe for human misery and won’t save lives.

  2. I doubt we need to be discussing the banning of abortions in the West. That will never happen. What will probably happen in Britain, as is about to happen in America, is the banning of second trimester abortions. Of course, to make that possible and not inhumane, it would be necessary for women to be granted abortions without the two signatory rule currently in force.

    If the end result of a 2nd T abortion ban is an increase in babies, I cannot find too much sympathy for the few women who end up as mothers when they would have chosen a late abortion and motherlessness.

    Britain would benefit enormously if more babies were born due to this ban. Our indigenous population is aging and dying out. Human rights and a comfy, pain-free life, brought about by liberalism and kid gloves has only resulted in a weakened population. Keep that liberalism going and we will all be happy but we will not exist in a century.

    What will exist? Islam and muslims. Muslims will not produce more babies due to this ban. They can’t abort babies now so the ban will have no effect whatsoever on their mushrooming population.

    Current birth rates in Britain…

    Indigenous : 1.6 per woman
    Muslims : 3.6 per woman

    If we do not stop insisting on a pain free life we will have no life.

  3. * boggles *

    Then again… James, can we stop arguing about Clarkson on the other post, please, because flipping through your old posts to this one and reading the above comment just made my brain explode…

    Actually, scratch that, I’ll probably never find this post again to know if you reply, so… 😉

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