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London: lobbyists demand full term abortion after mum imprisoned

The dramatic case of eight-month pregnant Carla Foster, jailed for having induced an abortion at home becomes a pretext for demanding abortion at full term. But, the tragic consequences of that abortion go unmentioned.

Life and Bioethics 17_06_2023 Italiano

The Abortion lobby is back on the war path in the UK. Today, Saturday 17th June, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the Women’s Equality Party and the Fawcett Society have organised a march from The Royal Courts of Justice to Westminster to demand legal reform to the 1967 Abortion Act in Great Britain under the slogan: “It is time to act now”. Their goal is to normalise the concept that abortion should be legal until birth. The pretext for change comes from a recent case in the news: “This week, a woman in England was sentenced to 28 months in prison after using abortion pills to end her own pregnancy”, reads the website publicising the event. The women referred to is Carla Foster from Staffordshire who ended her baby’s life by obtaining abortion pills illegally during lockdown in May 2020.

Needless to say, the abortion lobby’s statement doesn’t mention the terrible suffering that abortion has caused: a healthy eight-month-old baby girl named Lily was killed and delivered stillborn or what has happened to Carla since, who is still tormented by nightmares and flashbacks of her dead daughter’s face after giving birth. Moreover, Carla’s story like those of many others who chose abortion all share a common thread: women faced with an unplanned pregnancy, living in chaotic personal circumstances, usually alone, looking for a quick solution to an apparently unresolvable situation, only to be left permanently scarred by the deaths of their baby.

Nonetheless, the few remaining obstacles still left preventing abortion to term are being systematically removed provoking simultaneously a gradual increase in the number of abortions being recorded worldwide. According to Official government statistics. GOV.UK, in 2021 there were 214,256 abortions for women resident in England and Wales, the highest number since the Abortion Act was introduced. A large increase was recorded during the pandemic. Paradoxically, while ordinary citizens fundamental democratic rights were being systematically violated, a woman’s right to abortion was one of the few rights universally upheld by governments. In particular, the introduction of DIY medical abortions at home, easily obtainable with a phone call in the UK, based on trust without any form of control, guaranteed the “health” service continued without interruption during the Covid crisis. The "pills by post" scheme, introduced in lockdown, allows pregnancies up to 10 weeks to be terminated at home, after 10 weeks the procedure is supposed to be carried out in a clinic. The scheme was heralded such a success, it is still in operation today.

According to a statement by MSI Reproductive Choices UK, a leading abortion provider, the COVID-19 pandemic not only had an impact on numbers of abortions, but also on the method of abortion. “Early medical abortion at home is the most common procedure, with 52% of all women having abortions in 2021 taking both tablets at home. The percentage of medical abortion overall, accounted for 87% of abortions”. But, the statistics don’t record the frightened vulnerable women who exploit a system with such gaping loopholes it invites abuse. This is the backdrop to Carla Foster’s story.

Carla Foster already had three sons, one of whom has special needs, before she became pregnant again in 2019. At the start of lockdown she moved back in with her estranged partner while carrying another man's baby. Suffering from considerable “emotional turmoil”, she sought to hide the pregnancy from both men. Between February and May 2020, the court heard she had searched "how to hide a pregnancy bump", "how to have an abortion without going to the doctor" and "how to lose a baby at six months".

In May 2020, by now eight months pregnant, Carla contacted BPAS, a leading abortion provider.  Based on the false information she provided, BPAS sent Carla the tablets for a medical abortion because it was estimated she was seven weeks pregnant. In reality, the unborn baby – a girl – named Lily- was between 32 and 34 weeks old, well above the legal limit of 24 weeks, the cut off point at which abortion is no-longer easily accessible in the UK because it is a viable age for survival outside of the womb. But, during labour Carla panicked and made two emergency calls to paramedics. When they arrived the baby had already been delivered and was not breathing. Efforts to revive her failed and Lily was confirmed dead about 45 minutes later. A post-mortem examination recorded the baby girl's cause of death as stillbirth and maternal use of abortion drugs and she was estimated to be between 32 and 34 weeks' gestation. Carla’s tragic story became public news.

Last Monday, June 12, Carla Foster was jailed for her crime by Mr Justice Pepperall in Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court. Foster was initially charged with child destruction, which she denied. She later pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of section 58 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, administering drugs or using instruments to procure abortion, which was accepted by the prosecution. She received a 28-month sentence, 14 of which will be spent in custody with the remainder on licence.

Mr Justice’s Pepperall’s sentence (here his sentencing remarks) has prompted a heated debate on abortion in the UK dividing British public opinion between supporters and opponents on the rights and wrongs of Carla’s abortion. But, one wonders, why the abortion lobby isnt being held to account for its part in the tragedy. Ironically, on the back of this catastrophe, their most constructive idea is to march in London demanding even more lenient laws for women to be more free to make the life changing decision to abort their own babies. 

The truth of the matter is three boys have been left without their mother, a baby girl has been killed and Carla after she has completed her prison sentence is faced with a life sentence of regret. Abortion is about the death decision of a baby by its mother. The harrowing reality is abortionists like to talk verbosely about choice while doing everything they can to ensure women have one choice only: abortion. The scandalous arrests of Isabel Vaughan Spruce and Father Gough for praying in silence recently is proof. No one cares what they were thinking or doing in their minds, it’s the fact their presence is a reminder women have other options which abortionists don’t want.