From Sir Keith Joseph, M.P.
In your issue of July 13 you correctly reported that I had said in answer to a question at St. Martin of Tours House, Islington, that I had voted against the Abortion Bill.
My answer was a misstatement. I did not vote against the Abortion Bill and I made an error of recollection in saying that I did. I hope that you will give equal publicity to this correction as you gave to my original answer.
What in fact happened was that I did not vote for the Abortion Bill, deliberately abstaining because I was not a supporter of it — but that is by no means the same as voting against it and I regret that, answering a question and without premeditation or preparation, I mis-stated the position.
Keith Joseph House of Commons.
My attention has been drawn to a letter in your issue of July 13 by Mrs. Phyllis Bowman, secretary for the Protection of Unborn Children, referring to the consequences of the Abortion Act.
In view of it I think it would be of interest to know what is happening in Birmingham, where no attempt has been made to sweep problems under the mat because of the Abortion Act.
Annually 9,000 cases are referred to the Medical Officer of Health for rehousing and in no instance over the years has abortion been recommended as an alternative. In fact in one case where abortion was recommended on the grounds of overcrowding the Professor of Midwifery refused it and referred it back to the Medical Officer of Health for assistance.
As tar as the hardening of attitude towards the unmarried mother is concerned this is certainly not the case in Birmingham. Indeed there has been such a diminution in demand for residential care that the Health Committee had to Close their special home for them.
The care of the handicapped is a matter for the local authorities and one which in general is receiving the increasing attention of any progressive local authority. .
Finally, I would point out that perhaps because we in Birmingham have established a free family planning service the situation may be different; certainly we know that it has received tremendous support here in the city and has been seen as a most useful alternative to abortion.
John Charlton. Chairman, Health Committee. The Council House, Birmingham.