by a Special Correspondent
A plane has been chartered in Falkirk, Stirlingshire, and special trains in Liverpool and Manchester to bring supporters to London for the giant antiabortion Parliamentary lobby on Tuesday. Mrs. Phyllis Bowman, press officer for the nondenominational Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. organisers of the lobby, said she knew of groups from more than 400 constituencies who were coming to see their M.P,s, The Knights of St. Columba were flying from Falkirk, and support from Scotland. the North of England and Wales, where the society has over 2,000 of its 8,000 members, was excellent. "We are weakest in London." she said.
Coachloads are coming from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and in Cornwall, Dr. Wendy Wright, an S.P.U.C. member, spent last weekend organising support there. During the all-day lobby groups assembling in Central Hall, Westminster, will be addressed by M.P.s, including Mrs. Jill Knight, Conservative member for Edgbaston; Mr. Selwyn Gummer, Conservative member for Lewisham West, and Mr. Leo Abse, Labour member for Pontypool.
The number of abortions has increased sharply every year since the Act began to operate in 1968. Last year 156,000 abortions were performed. S.P.U.C. argue that abortion is being used as a method of birth control. which was not the intention of the Act, and that it has not overcome the problem of back-street abortions, which appear to have increased in number.
The Society is also worried about the increasing pressure being brought to bear on mothers of large families and unmarried girls to have abortions, and several cases will be brought to the attention of M.P.s.
"Isobel," aged 33, one of the cases recently helped by S.P.U.C., lived with her fiance and, becoming pregnant, was told by her parents to have an abortion.
She left her fiance because of his drinking habits and went to a London hospital when her eyesight began to deteriorate. The hospital said her pregnancy might have caused this, and asked wh) she would not have an abortion. But she desperately wanted to have the child, even if it had to be adopted.
Bleeding occurred after she left this hospital and she went to another, where she was told it was a threatened miscarriage.
She was discharged, despite the fact that her sight had by now almost completely gone.
Meeting an S.P.U.C. member, she was accepted as a patient by a gynaecologist, also an S.P.U.C. member, of whom she said: "He was the only doctor I saw who really understood and showed compassion when I told him how much I wanted the baby ... at no time did he brush aside the points 1 made as though I were a nuisance."
Unfortunately, shortly after the diocese of Shrewsbury had guaranteed the mother sheltered accommodation, the child was lost.
The Lane Committee, currently examining the workings of the Abortion Act, is expected to report early next year, but has no brief to change the Act.
But S.P.U.C. believe the wording of the conditions for legal abortions is inconsistent with the principles underlying the Act, and can therefore be changed. Before the Act was passed, the Society protested that it gave unborn children less protection than laboratory animals. They have attempted to bring charges in cases where they believe aborted babies horn alive have suffered gross negligence.