This week in our staff meeting, we had a brief talk from a local charity which provides counselling for women in crisis pregnancies. Our patient population has a very high number of women who have had abortions, and many of these have had more than one abortion (this, despite the fact that of the 7 doctors I work with, only 2 will refer for terminations). This charity is, I would say, pro-choice but their approach to choice is that it should be a considered choice, and they do play an important role locally in identifying women who are being coerced into abortion (at the point where the woman has already checked into hospital for the termination) and supporting them in keeping the baby should they decide to do so. They also provide counselling to those suffering the consequences of abortion: women, men and family members. One of the reasons I do not mention their name here is that I do not wish to endorse them - yes, some of the work they do leads women to choose not to have an abortion, and too often the long-term consequences of abortion are ignored or denied - but the fact is that they support a 'woman's right to choose' rather than recognising the evil of abortion for what it really is.
However, something very interesting (or possibly horrifying) which was mentioned during the presentation, were some statistics around abortion, namely:
- 34% of women under 30 have had an abortion
- 10% have had more than one
- one third of pregnancies end in abortion
and then the one which struck me as most interesting
- 50% of pregnancies are unplanned.
It wasn't so much that the proportion is fairly high (given our contraceptive mentality in this country) but that the person giving the presentation felt that this was a surprise, as she said, 'given everything we know'. Well, the fact is, that we surely must know by now that babies never come when they are planned. I don't know anyone who can say, yes, our baby arrived exactly when we wanted it to. I know couples who have waited years (regardless of whether they had previously used hormonal contraceptives or NFP and really wanted children), I know couples who decided not to and then went through IVF and still didn't end up with children, I know a couple who got pregnant having slept together only once, the fact is that what we actually should know is that the contraceptive mentality is not working. If it was, then there wouldn't be so many abortions and so many unplanned pregnancies. And the fact that whilst 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, only (God help us, it's still horrific) 34% are terminated means that an unplanned baby is not necessarily and unwanted baby, therefore why this conviction that planning is everything, that we must be in control of absolutely everything?
I generally think that abortion debate comes down to the fact that people don't recognise that the unborn child is a person. But from these figures, and the accompanying attitude, it is presumably about our desperate desire to be in charge of the universe.