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12 / 06 / 2009 - UK Government Uses Tiller Killing as Excuse for Concealing Abortion Stats
The UK Department of Health (DoH) is using the May 31st shooting of American late-term abortionist George Tiller to justify its refusal to publish detailed statistics of abortions for minor disabilities. The DoH is currently awaiting a decision on an appeal to the Information Tribunal.
In the UK, abortion is legal for any or no reason up to 24 weeks gestation, after which eugenic abortions can be conducted up until birth with the approval of two doctors. There is concern, however, that such eugenic abortions are often carried out for trivial reasons.
The DoH has refused to publish detailed statistics on abortions for minor disabilities since 2003, when, in a well-publicized case brought by Anglican curate Joanna Jepson, the police were asked to investigate the legality of a late-term abortion for cleft palate. Abortions for minor disabilities are now often classified in the general category ‘other.’
The ProLife Alliance, a political action group founded to put abortion back on the UK political agenda, began requesting more detailed statistics about these abortions in 2004. When unsuccessful, they went to the Information Commissioner in January 2006, who eventually, in July 2008, decided that the statistics should be fully disclosed. The current case before the Information Tribunal is the DoH’s appeal to that decision.
The DoH indicated to the Tribunal that publishing the detailed statistics could lead to individual doctors and women being identified because of the low volume of abortions for particular disabilities. Such disclosure, they said, could lead to “mental distress or harm,” as, for example, when a woman should discover she was the only one to have had an abortion for her child’s specific disability.
“Their arguments are nonsensical,” comments a ProLife Alliance press release from June 2. “Curious members of the public … could look for weeks at the statistics … and never get any closer to identifying either women undergoing or doctors performing these abortions.”
The DoH has also claimed that the identification of individuals could lead to violence against them by extreme anti-abortionists. Before Tiller’s killing, DoH Deputy Director of Health and Well-Being, Geoff Dessen, expressed this concern, while admitting that such violence has never occurred in the UK. “Just because it hasn’t happened here yet, doesn’t mean it won’t,” he said. “We don’t know the risks.”
At the second day of the hearing on June 1st, the day after George Tiller was killed, the DoH circulated a news report about the killing, and reiterated their claim about the risk of violence.
According to the ProLife Alliance press release, the DoH’s use of the Tiller killing “was just the latest example in the DH’s scaremongering to fuel their totally hypothetical and absurd position that full exposure of abortion statistics could lead to violence, which completely ignores the reputable standing of the ProLife Alliance and the public’s right to know the truth.”
Source: Patrick B. Craine - LifeSiteNews.com