The Spectator

Letters | 17 September 2011

Letters: Spectator readers respond to recent articles

In denial about abortion

Sir: Mary Wakefield (‘Who cares about abortion?’, 10 September) bravely argues that Britain needs a rational and reasoned debate about our abortion laws. Since 1967 there have been seven million abortions in Great Britain: in the past 12 months there were 189,574, with 48,348 women having had one before and, according to a parliamentary reply, some as many as eight during their lifetime. Lord Steel, the author of the 1967 Act, has rightly described this as ‘horrific’ and has said there are ‘too many’. About that, at least, we should all agree.

A more profound debate would consider the status of the unborn child. An unborn baby with a disability — from Down’s syndrome to a cleft palate — may be aborted up to birth (so much for anti-discrimination laws, human rights and equality). Others may be aborted up to 24 weeks in barbaric procedures.

It has been said that a nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope, and Mary Wakefield is right: we are a nation in total denial. Worse still, we grow more and more comfortable with it every passing day.
Lord Alton
House of Lords, London SW1

Sir: Congratulations to Mary Wakefield on a well-argued and perceptive article about our attitudes to abortion. Her observation about the link between the abortionist lobby and those who advocate ‘animal rights’ was particularly shrewd.  Their attitude might be summed up by the extraordinary assertion that ‘meat is murder but abortion is choice’.
Andrew Macdonald
London W3

Unfortunate developments

Sir: As an alternative to the government’s policy of simplifying the planning system and returning decisions to local control, your leading article (10 September) suggests that aspiring homeowners should be confined, as John Prescott is supposed to have proposed, to four centrally planned, Whitehall-selected settlement zones.

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