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Philippa Taylor

Commemoration or Celebration? 50 years of Abortion in numbers and pictures

Philippa Taylor is Head of Public Policy at CMF. She has an MA in Bioethics from St Mary’s University College and a background in policy work on bioethics and family issues.


The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of CMF.

The Abortion Act reaches its 50th Anniversary on Friday 27 October 2017. In these last fifty years nearly 9 million unborn babies have been aborted in England, Scotland and Wales.

That figure has, of course, also impacted the lives of 9 million women, some of whom are celebrating this anniversary of the Act but many of whom will instead remember and regret their abortion(s) and the harm each one brings to both mother and child.

While I strongly believe there are two victims for every abortion, for now I deliberately focus on the unborn victims, not the women, and the almost incomprehensible scale of destruction of innocent lives.

9 million lives lost is a truly staggering figure.

Incredibly, that number of lives lost is higher than the combined populations of Scotland and Wales (see also here).

Let’s break the figures down a bit more.

On current abortion rates, every year we lose more lives than could fill three London Olympic Stadiums (approximately 200,000 per year).

Every month we lose the equivalent of 11 Titanics (over 16,000 per month, since 1992).

We lose many more than the number of people who died in the 9/11 attacks every week in England, Wales and Scotland (3840 per week).

And every day the number of unborn babies who are aborted would completely fill an Airbus A380 (approximately 550 per day).

These are illustrations of the numbers of lives lost.  Imagine the difference in England and Wales if those were all alive today?  Which brings me to Northern Ireland where, in a poignant and striking contrast, there are an estimated 100,000 people who are alive today because they do not have the 1967 Abortion Act, but have a different law.

In other words, one in ten people under fifty in Northern Ireland are alive because of the more restrictive law on abortion there.

This number could fill their national football stadium five times over. Each one a precious, valuable human being who is alive today but would have never have had the chance of life in the rest of the UK.

An anniversary is a time for stopping to remember something very special or something very sad. It is either a celebration, such as of a marriage or a special birthday, or it is a time to commemorate a tragic event, such as a death.

I for one know which this 50th anniversary will signify: 9 million innocent lives lost. For me it is a time for commemoration of 9 million unborn children who have silently disappeared.

Please take a minute or two to stop and remember, by watching this short video we have put together at CMF to mark the Anniversary.

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