Britain marks 50 years of legal abortion

What happened?

Sunday marks 50 years since the Abortion Act received Royal Assent and became law. Since then, it is estimated that there have been almost nine million abortions in Britain. Every working day around 700 take place.

The Act was steered through parliament in 1967 by Liberal MP David Steel. In 2007 he told the Guardian: “I don’t think we had expected anything like those numbers but when people say there are ‘too many’ I say: ‘All right, you give me the right figure.’ ”

What the British media are saying

In general the British media have taken a pro-choice stance, though a recent BBC programme, Abortion on Trial, featured a variety of arguments. However, pro-lifers said the programme was slanted. The Mail on Sunday also claimed that producers “cherry picked” favourable results from a specially commissioned ICM poll, such as that 87 per cent of religious people support abortion in some circumstances.

Some of the survey’s more noteworthy findings were that less than half of respondents (46 per cent) approved of abortion in the case of rape, and only 45 per cent if the mother’s life is in danger. Also, despite a campaign from abortion lobbyists for “decriminalisation”, only six per cent said that there should be no legal time limit on abortion.

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