BY A STAFF REPORTER
THE pro-abortion lobby was deliberately misleading people into thinking that back street abortions had dropped as a result of Mr. David Steele's Abortion Act, said Mr. B. Godman Irvine, M.P. for the Rye Division of East Sussex, at a Press conference at the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Mr. Irvine today was attempting to introduce a Bill to amend the present law on abortion. "We have heard a great deal during the last few months from proabortionists who claim illegal abortions have dropped sharply as a result of the present act coming into force," he said.
"The figures they use to prove this statement are those from the Emergency Bed Service which show that from April 1967 to April 1968 admissions to hospital under the heading 'miscarriage' (spontaneous and induced abortions) were 4,169 compared with 3,631 for April 1968 to April 1969," he said.
Mr. Irvine said that upon checking, the Emergency Bed Service informed him that admissions of this nature had been fulling since 1964. He quoted figures to show that the drop had been considerably less than since the Abortion Act came into force.
At the same Press conference, Mr. Harry Gordon, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Hammersmith Hospital, London, said that the housing slump was creating a demand for abortions. He challenged the supporters of the Abortion Act to say whether they wanted abortion on demand.
-If they want abortion on demand it is far better for them to say so, rather than to hide behind a loosely worded act. . . . I have no religious views on termination of pregnancy. But I would consider abortion on demand totally immoral and would not do it," he said.
A letter in Tuesday's Times. signed by Lord Silkin, Lady Gaitskell, Baroness Stocks and Lord Super, among others, argued that if Mr. Irvine's measure to put private clinics into line with National Health Service clinics succeeds, this would, because of the dearth of consultants prepared to perform abortions, drive abortion once more underground.
Allegations of "medical incompetence amounting almost to butchery" were mentioned by Mr. Norman St. JohnStevas, M.P., during question time in the House of Commons on Monday. He was referring to a tape recording of a report by a girl who had had an abortion in a private nursing home and later developed peritonitis described her experiences.
On the tape the girl said she regained consciousness after the operation to see surgeons sitting around the table in the middle of the room eating their dinner. They wore green operating theatre gowns, their masks were around their necks, and they still had on wellington boots.
Mr. Richard Crossman, Secretary of State for the Social Services, said that the tape referred to by Mr. St. JohnStevas was still being typed out.
PACKAGE TRIPS Sir Gerald Nabarro, M.P., questioned Mr. Crossman about "abortion package trips," costing £500 from America. He was told it was not the Government's policy to exclude foreign visitors who came for private medical treatment.
Sir Gerald said that this "highly undesirable" traffic had been encouraged by the "dreadfully permissive" abortion laws.
Mr. Crossman told him that the question of whether or not the Abortion Act was working well or badly was quite different from whether foreign visitors should he permitted to come here to use our system of private practice.
In a written answer the Minister stated that if a nursing home wanted approval under the Abortion Act positively encouraged women to come from abroad this would be a ground for questioning desirability about giving approval. A NatiOnal Opinion Poll survey, published this week, carried out among a systematic random sample of general practitioners in Great Britain (including Northern Ireland) indicated that 66 per cent of them wanted the abortion law unaltered, 19 per cent wanted easier 'abortion and 28 per cent thought that the obtaining of abortion should he more difficult.
Norman St. John-Stevas---P.4 Christian Action on Tyneside
CHRISTIAN Action groups have been formed on Tyneside and Wearside to cam
paign against abortion euthanasia, the extension of free birth control facilities, the removal of religious education from schools' timetables and similar issues.
At South Shields a number of specialised teams have been set up to cover such items as scrutiny of the mass communications media, a study of local authority and M.P.'s views on Christ ia n legislation, an examination of Parliamentary debates and research on abortion, euthanasia and obscene publications.