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89% would support a change in the law to guarantee women the right to comprehensive information and advice before abortions

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Issued by Christian Concern

Press Release

For Immediate Release – see picture note below

28 October 2010


89% would support a change in the law to guarantee women the right to comprehensive information and advice before abortions


A ComRes* survey produced for the 43rd Anniversary of the Abortion Act 1967, yesterday, (27 October) has revealed that 66% of women believe the current figure of more than 200,000 abortions each year in Britain is “too high”, and 78% of people support a ‘cooling off’ period between diagnosis of pregnancy and abortion.

Most surprisingly, a staggering 89% would support a change in law to give women the right to be “informed of all the physical, psychological and emotional risks associated with abortion”.  It is hoped that the new Coalition Government will particularly take note of the fact that 82% of people support a legal duty on doctors to ensure that women are given access to advice and information about alternatives to abortion.

61% of people support a reduction in the number of weeks at which an abortion can be conducted, from 24 weeks (current) to a limit of 20 weeks or less.

The survey also revealed widespread ignorance about the number of abortions that take place in Britain, with only 3% of respondents making an estimate between 150, 001 and 250, 000. That ignorance is particularly marked amongst the younger age groups, with 45% of 18 – 24 year olds estimating an annual total that is less than 10% of the true figure! 

Christian Concern believes that MPs and Lords who voted in the 1967 Act never imagined that four decades later, more than 7,000,000 babies would have been aborted, or, that the reasons for abortion would have been so relaxed over the years.

To mark the occasion, Christian Concern organised a Vigil outside Parliament and a Service of Lament at the nearby Emmanuel Centre at which the former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, spoke. During the Vigil, 572 models of babies in the womb at 10-12 weeks were laid out, representing the average number of abortions taking place each in Britain according to the latest government statistics.** A small delegation later visited Downing Street and presented the results of the survey, along with a copy of Forsaken, a short book published this week written by five women about their experience of abortion and called on the Prime Minister to support a new debate on 'informed consent'.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Director of Christian Concern, said: “This survey reveals that the British public have no idea of the vast scale of abortion in this country and that, when confronted with the true figures, the majority feel that steps should be taken to reduce that number.

“We cannot afford for abortion to remain a taboo subject. Successive governments have been reluctant to open up the debate but what is clear, especially amongst the women surveyed, is that the public supports a change to the law.

“An unexpected pregnancy can place women in a very vulnerable position. At the very least, the law should be changed so that women considering an abortion must have independent counseling that outlines all the options available and explains all the physical, emotional and psychological consequences associated with abortion.

“Given the conflict of interest, it is not appropriate that this should be provided by private, commercial organisations that carry out abortions. Instead, women should have to attend counseling sessions before being referred to the abortion provider and an appropriate ‘cooling off’ period insisted upon.

Christian Concern will be liaising with MPs as to how the current law can be most effectively debated and changed.

For further information visit:



Pictures of Vigil outside Parliament today below.
Further pictures available on request.

Click on images for high resolution versions.

For information/interview:

Andrew Marsh (Christian Concern): 07919 354456

Andrea Minichiello Williams (Christian Concern): 07712 591164


Expert Comment:

Professor Patricia Casey: 00353 1803 2176 / 00353872435542

Professor Casey is Professor of Psychiatry at Department of Psychiatry, UCD and the Mater Misericordiae Hospital. She is the author of five books. Her research interests include personality disorder and suicide, she is one of the principle investigators in the ODIN (Outcome of Depression International Network) Group and is Editor of the Psychiatric Bulletin (published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, London). She chaired the Fitness to Practice Medical Council Committee from 1994 to 1999. She is a regular contributor to the Irish media and currently has a weekly column in the Irish Independent.


Editor’s Note:

Survey undertaken by ComRes on behalf of Christian Concern’s Choose Life Campaign.

*ComRes interviewed 1,001 GB adults by telephone between 15th and 17th October 2010. Data were weighted to be representative demographically of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules (  Full data tables available at

**According to government statistics 195,743 abortions took place in England and Wales in 2009 (6,643 of them involved non-residents, mainly from Northern Ireland or the Irish Republic). A further 13,005 abortions took place in Scotland in the same year. Sources: Department of Health, Information Services Division of NHS National Services, Scotland.


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