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UK News

'Society has failed them': Christians respond to fact that a quarter of pregnancies in England and Wales were aborted last year

by Heather Preston

New figures revealing 1 in 4 pregnancies ended in abortion in 2018 has "deeply troubled" some members of the Christian community.

On Wednesday the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that 24 per cent of pregnancies in England and Wales resulted in legal abortions - the highest proportion since records began 1990.

The report states that the number of women conceiving has fallen for the third year in a row - making the overall number of terminations lower.

Christian public policy charity CARE said it was "deeply troubled" by the data.

Communications officer Naomi Marsden told Premier Christian News: "Each of these abortions represents a woman and a baby that society has failed. If so many women are turning to abortion, then we do really need to be looking at what has led them to do so in the first place and whether there are perhaps more deeper systemic problems in our society that mean women in crisis pregnancies view abortion as their only option."

Marsden says a number of factors contribute to a woman's decision to terminate, including timing, career, poverty and relationships. She says more research needs to be done to support women and prevent them feeling pressured by these factors to have an abortion. 

ONS figures show a decrease in teenage pregnancies for the 11th year in a row - with the number of women under 18 conceiving halving in the last decade. 

Pro-choice Christian, Katie Brookfield, who writes about sexual ethics in the church, says although she is surprised by the figures she thinks the specific circumstances need to be taken into account.

"No woman wants to be in a situation where she has to make a decision over her body like that. It's not a pleasant thing to do. That you've got to carry a child for nine months - and then raise that child - is a huge decision.

"If they are having to make that decision, why is that? Is there the same access to contraception that there should be?"

Brookfield argues that a lack of education and access to contraception in particular circumstances can impact a woman's decision.

She adds that she thinks women shouldn't be penalised for choosing to terminate pregnancy: "Mistakes happen, and sometimes you end up in a situation where you have maybe had unprotected sex or your contraception has failed, and you still shouldn't have to live with the consequences of that if you are not able to or you do not want to. There's a lot of focus here on the women, but it takes two to make a baby - but it is primarily the women that will have to live with the consequences of that, unfortunately, in the majority of situations, and they should have the choice and the access [to these services]."

Marsden agrees that there is a fundamental inequality in the abortion argument.

She adds: "We want a society where men support women in pregnancy, and abortion just allows men to walk away, essentially. We want a society where women are equal because they're made in the image of God just as men are."


 

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