The Abortion Of Unwanted Girls (and Minorities, Poor People, Disabled People) Taking Place In The UK

This is a pretty horrible story from the Daily Telegraph; despite it being illegal in the UK, it seems abortions are being carried out on the basis of gender among UK residents of certain nationalities. Depressingly, it’s no surprise that it’s girls that are being aborted, not boys. As the article says, we’ve known for years that both China and India (and other nations) have terrible gender balances because people have wanted a boy instead of a girl, and aborted to get there1. To see it reflected over here, is sadly unsurprising.

Here’s something else that shouldn’t surprise you; the abortion statistics for the UK from 2011 show that a disproportionate number of babies are being aborted in England and Wales2 from ethnic minority backgrounds. It wouldn’t be vastly unfair of you to assume that if 80% of the population is White British, then 80% of children aborted would be White British. Turns out that’s not true. White British babies only account for 67% of children aborted. White Irish and Mixed White Asian also have lower than expected abortion rates. Meanwhile, every single other ethnicity has higher rates. Leading the way are White Other (non-British and non-Irish), Indian, Other Asian, and Afro-Caribbean, but outstripping them all are Black African abortions. Black or Black British Africans only make up 1.8% of population of England and Wales, yet 5.9% of aborted children are of Black African ethnicity. To put this in more understandable terms, take a thousand White British women and there will be a bit over five abortions. Take a thousand Black African women and there will be 21 abortions3. This minority ethnic bias in abortions is true in America as well, where African American women are three times as likely to have an abortion as a white American4.

Here’s something else that shouldn’t surprise you; while we don’t seem to have stats on this in the UK, in America it seems that people from a lower income have more abortions than people from a higher income. Given what we’ve seen about more abortions coming from ethnic minority groups, and given that ethnic minority residents are often poorer than White British residents, we can probably assume that this is somewhat true in the UK as well.

Here’s something else that shouldn’t surprise you; In the UK a child is more likely to be aborted if it has some sort of disability that can be diagnosed in the womb. Residents of England and Wales aborted 512 babies with Down’s Syndrome in 20115.

And finally here’s something purely speculative, but say scientists found some kind of genetic trait that indicated a greater likelihood of same sex attraction. And say they found a way of testing for this in an unborn child in the womb. You could probably, sadly, guess what would happen.

There are two points to be made concerning these facts. Most people I know who favour women having the right to access abortion, are rightly eager to fight against sexism, against racism, against poverty, against discrimination against disabilities and against discrimination based upon sexual identity. And yet, where abortion is effectively permitted for any reason6 we find that the groups that suffer the most are women, ethnic minorities, people living in poverty, and disabled people. If you wanted a society that was more male and less diverse and that kept people in poverty effectively, introducing abortions on demand would be a good place to start. You wouldn’t even have to introduce laws encouraging abortions, people would whittle out the weak for themselves. Conversely, if you want to care for the weak, the poor, and the oppressed, reducing abortions is a good way to start.

The second point to be made is related to this: A society where babies are aborted inside the womb selects the same kind of children as a society where babies are aborted outside of the womb. Societies that practice foeticide and infanticide both end up putting to death a similar type of child. For all the hyperbole people use about abortion being not far away from Spartans throwing disabled children off cliffs, there’s some truth in it. A society that has no issues with abortion is going to be one that kills disabled children in the womb.

If you want to know why I’m so against abortion, then I wrote this article some months ago to explain my logic.


1 It’s worth pointing out, that sex-selective abortions are illegal in both China and India, as they are in the UK. Like the UK that doesn’t seem to prevent them from happening.

2 Statistics from the UK government cover three different areas; England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. These different areas don’t always use the same methodologies, ask the same questions, or do studies at the same time. Also, in this case abortion law in Northern Ireland is completely different to the rest of the UK. So all these statistics, unless otherwise stated, concern residents of the UK. The two datas sources I’m using most are the 2011 census data on ethnicity (.xls file) and the 2011 department of health abortion data (.xls file).

3 Here’s the excel file I used to calculate this. The one point of data I had to take a slight guess at was the gender split of the UK population. Various sources have it as 1.02 in favour on women over all age groups so I used that figure to split up the total population. If anything that’s going to give a slightly higher number of women, and so a fractionally lower number of abortions per 1000 women. It’s close enough. One thing I can’t get data on is the gender split among ethnicities in the UK; theoretically in some ethnicities there are more men then women or visa-versa. It’d have to be incredibly, noticeably, uniquely in the world, different for it to significantly alter the figures here though. Also, 10,245 abortions have no known ethnicity (5.4%). That means that these abortion rates per 1000 women are actually lower than they truly are. As there’s no-way of guessing what ethnicity they fit into, I’ve just ignored them.

4 As of 2004

5 Potentially it’s more than this. I’m listing the figures from the 2011 abortion data I referenced above.

6 I say effetctively, because technically abortion on demand is illegal in the UK although in practice I’m not sure anyone is denied an abortion as long as they’re under the 24 week period.