Abortion in Britain is not considered controversial. Is this true?
Nope. Here's what most people are missing. Under the U.S. Constitution a woman has an absolute right to abortion on demand during the first trimester . While, abortions on demand are illegal in Britain.
Abortion laws in the United Kingdom remain significantly stricter than in Canada and the United States in that the government does not permit abortion simply on demand.
In Britain, if a woman unilaterally aborts her fetus she can be sentenced to life in prison.
Abortion, except under certain exceptions, is a crime and is a violation of the Offences Against the Person Act. Here is the current law:
Administering drugs or using instruments to procure abortion.
"Every woman, being with child, who, with intent to procure her own miscarriage, shall unlawfully administer to herself any poison or other noxious thing [...] shall be liable to be kept in penal servitude for life."
Women in Britain can be sent to prison for taking abortion pills bought online:
- Mother jailed for taking poison to kill unborn son
- Sarah Catt jailed for full-term abortion of baby - BBC News
- Horrific life of mum in abortion court case
And even in the case of an early-term abortion that is needed to protect the life of the mother - the law requires the permission of two doctors.
It may come as a shock that the 1967 Abortion Act (in place in England, Wales, and Scotland, but not Northern Ireland) didn't repeal the 19th century offences laid out in the Offences Against the Person Act. It simply provided exceptions: two doctors must decide that a child-bearer's mental or physical health would suffer if forced to continue a pregnancy; the abortion must be performed by a doctor; and the procedure must be carried out on licensed premises.
As the articles below show ... there is a fair amount of controversy in Britain concerning abortion:
- Britain's real abortion scandal is how hard it is for some women to have one
- The '9 month abortion' is a myth. British women must be allowed to end pregnancies without facing jail
- Abortion Controversy: Pro-Choice & Pro-Life
- How the UK's abortion debate was revived
- Abortion row: Britain's pro-choicers want to liberate women - but risk doing the opposite
- Abortion debate sparks frenzy as RCM defends campaign for later terminations
- Abortion Act 1967
- 1967 Abortion Act: The debate to date
- Q&A: Abortion law - BBC News
NOTE: I'm a pro-choice atheist, and I wish that the abortion laws in the US were even more liberal. But we've got to stop dismissing the other side as "religious nut jobs" - and falsely asserting that the whole Western world agrees with us.
The issue is complicated and we aren't going to persuade anyone of anything through rude, condescending name calling.